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Working in Spain


'The Manuscript Found in Saragossa'
Jean-Claude Carrière Film-maker
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I knew about The Manuscript Found in Saragossa by Potocki, as he is an author I liked a lot, and a friend led me to discover it... It is a book written in French, it needs to be said. And I read the book, I got Buñuel to read it, and he loved it. He really loved it, he even wanted to adapt it for the screen, and then it was adapted in Poland, a very good film by the way. We saw it together several times. He loved the idea of a... frame story, and actually The Milky Way is a bit like that. He went as far as exchanging one of his films with Poland, I don't remember which one now, I think Simon of the Desert, that he gave to Poland for free, so that he could share the screenplay of the Has film in Mexico... I don't know what happened to that film now, if it stayed in people's memories... I would love to see it again. The two sisters, the progressive transformation of the story that was so skilful and so disturbing at times. I would like to re-read the book, which must be somewhere here, and watch the film again, of course. But we kept talking about it. It was for Buñuel... the film, and the book was like a reference, an example to follow. He was always referring to that... the famous manuscript found in Saragossa, it was also his town, where he had gone to school, the capital of Aragon, where he was born.

Moi, je connaissais Le manuscrit trouvé à Saragosse de Potocki parce que c’est un auteur que j’aimais beaucoup et qu’un ami m’avait fait découvrir… Livre écrit en français, il faut le rappeler. Et j’ai l’ai lu, je le lui ai fait lire, il a adoré ce livre. Vraiment, il a énormément aimé ce livre, il avait même pensé à un moment donné  à l’adapter quand le film a été fait en Pologne, un très bon film d’ailleurs. Nous l’avons vu ensemble plusieurs fois, il aimait dedans… le système du film à tiroirs et d’ailleurs La voie lactée n’en est pas loin. Il a été au point d’échanger un de ses films avec la Pologne, je ne sais plus lequel Simon du désert je crois, qu’il a donné gratuitement à la Pologne pour pouvoir faire distribuer le manuscrit du film de Has à Mexico… Je ne sais pas ce qu’est devenu ce film maintenant, s’il est resté dans la mémoire, j’aimerai beaucoup le revoir, les deux sœurs, la transformation progressive du récit c’était extrêmement habile et assez troublant par moment. J’aimerais à la fois relire le livre que je dois avoir quelque part et revoir le film, bien entendu. Mais on en parlait toujours. C’était pour Buñuel… le film, et le livre, était une référence, c’est un exemple. Il se referait toujours à cette… ce  fameux manuscrit trouvé à Saragosse en plus, c’est à dire la ville qui était la sienne, celle où il était allé au collège dans son enfance et qui était la capitale de l’Aragon qui est l’état dans lequel il était né.

French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière (1931-2021) began his association with films aged 24 when he was selected by Jacques Tati to write for him. This early experience led to further contact with other film-makers, including Luis Buñuel with whom Carrière collaborated for many years. He wrote screenplays for films including Belle de Jour, The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie, Tin Drum and Danton.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: The Manuscript Found at Saragossa, The Saragossa Manuscript, Luis Buñuel, Jan Potocki

Duration: 1 minute, 49 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2010

Date story went live: 27 July 2010