The Trouble with Films Adapted for too Different an Audience
Or
Los Abismos de Passion: Wuthering Heights Not

         Luis Buñuel's 1954 Los Abismos is a film that I have trouble formulating ideas on. For starters, it is in Spanish, making me feel a bit disconnected. Secondly, it entirely changes the setting of this story, not only altering the physical location, but revamping the ideas attached to various places within Emily Brontë's 1847 novel it is based on. (The movie's version of Thrushcross Grange does not seem that much better than its rendition of Wuthering Heights); and finally, even if it were in English, this film is so different from the original Wuthering Heights that it becomes hard to think of them as gestating from the same ideas.

         Wuthering Heights tells a story of failed love due to the ambitions of men and women and their need for pretty things, pride and revenge. It goes further to show how the actions of these people can hurt their children. Finally, it shows that children do not have to live in their parents' mistakes, and that these children can find redemption.

         Los Abismos, while telling a story with similar events to Wuthering Heights, changes the events and then does not even use its new events to get across the same ideas of how love unrequited can damage people. I mean, it does show love damaging people, but it is the love one woman has for two men rather than the love one woman has for one man and another man's money. In Los Abismos, Catalina (Irasema Dilian) stays with her Edgardo (Ernesto Alonzo) because she really does love him, as well as her Spanish Heathcliff, Alejandro (Jorge Mistral). Thusly, this is not the same story at all.

         The lack of children (though, technically there is a child, Jorgecito, played by Jaime González Quiñones, in Los Abismos) in this film also hurts its chances of being a successful adaptation. The children in Wuthering Heights were vital to showing that, despite all of the wrongs people commit, that does not mean that their crimes will carry over and ruin the entire world that they touched. Children can make their own decisions, learn from the mistakes of adults around them, and build better lives. This is something we see at the very end of Wuthering Heights but get no chance to see whatsoever in Los Abismos. The only child of a main character does not get time to develop into a character of its own.

         Los Abismos fails to capture what Wuthering Heights was. It succeeds in being a tantalizing Spanish "soap opera," and does certainly entertain, but not in the way the Wuthering Heights aims to. These stories are similar, but at best, Los Abismos is a reinvisioning of a story, with new ideas fueling the similar events. A Mexican reinvinsioning it is fine to be, but a successful adaptation it is not.

Elijah Pitman

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