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On the one hand, in the case of Venezuela, Zulia, where social-State interfaces councils, committees, conferences, etc. This was the only case where there was a relative promotion of legislation in favor of the right of women to make decisions about their own bodies, at a national and state level. However, as we observed on site, the implementation of this legislation in the day-to-day life of women, especially in the poorer sectors, is still very slow and difficult.
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You are here Home. By Gisela Zaremberg. Log in or register to post comments. About Author s. Gisela Zaremberg. Rawls y Sen. View the discussion thread. The other part of the film was shot with two S16 mm film cameras. This allowed the actors to perform without interrupting the flow of their emotions, as is usual in features. We also could take advantage of the continuity of the lighting conditions and colors of each hour of the day. There were many magical moments that were captured by the cameras in astounding photography.
So, through a non-realistic style, a world that we can't possibly recreate is made credible. The story is finally told by the voice of an old Indian through the text and drawings of a codex. This combination of graphics and live action in collage form brought the form of the film near to the aesthetics of pre-Columbian codices while maintaining a very contemporary look. The music was made from the sound recordings of the scenes. Human voices, sounds of nature, conches and drums, were used to create the music digitally. The film thus attained a very special unity, as all the sound, music and images stemmed from the same source.
Such films on pre-Columbian themes are extremely rare and contribute to the awareness that our most important roots, especially in a large part of Latin America, are not only European. Even today, the fact of being of non-European origin is a source of shame for many people in Latin America. Those two comments were for me justification enough for having made the film, which, incidentally, did very well in Film Festivals all over the world and in box office receipts in Mexico. He has distinguished himself in developing a style of fiction cinema based on pre-Columbian cultural roots.
Mexico has a long history of filmmaking, from the silent era to the present, with some particularly prolific periods that have been stimulated by state sponsorship and international recognition. In the s, film production was not so abundant in part because the newly formed state focused on sponsoring other projects such as public education and mural art. It was not until the mid- s that the post-revolutionary state invested in cinema on a large scale, which led to the formation of a film industry that in the s dominated the market of the Spanish-speaking world Latin America, Spain and the United States.
This period, known as the Golden Age , saw the emergence of new genres, directors with distinctive styles and a local star system that helped to assure a massive audience. In the s, a new generation of filmmakers and film critics began to reject the s popular cinema. Their attempts to form a new film culture, along with state funding in the early s, contributed to the development of a kind of auteur cinema led by directors like Felipe Cazals and Arturo Ripstein. Love of these older films has been fuelled by the state and by media companies that have promoted this film heritage through retrospectives, commercial DVD editions and constant TV reruns.
The initial stage of the project has involved the formation of a multidisciplinary working group that includes film scholars, collectors, museographers, scriptwriters, architects and visual artists. The design of these rooms will be based on both the research carried out by film historians and the proposals made by museographers and artists.
In addition, there will be outdoor public exhibitions that will include installations and activities such as film screenings, a collective book with research articles that will be based on the exhibition; and a television series produced by TV UNAM using some of the research findings. The creation of this museum is inscribed within a long tradition of administrating cultural heritage that was implemented in Mexico from the beginning of the post-revolutionary period. Given the nationalist orientation of its post-revolutionary policy, Mexico has invested a great deal in both preserving its cultural heritage and integrating it into an extensive system of museums, more than any other country in Latin America.
Since the heritage to be exhibited is film, the National Museum of Cinema could prove to be at once advantageous and sensitive, as it will be maneuvering a corpus of cultural goods that hold a special place in the collective imagination. In addition to noting this function, we will also witness to what extent the museum mobilizes a discourse regarding its potential contribution to a process of reconfiguring the national identity, as the document presenting the project suggests. In displaying the history of the film representation of the Revolution, the exhibition will allow the viewer to see how this representation has changed over time, in accordance with discursive formations and the political necessities of the various historical periods.
What are the rituals governing interpretation in that site? How is it framed or positioned? On the other side of the border, the event was much celebrated and publicized. This national triumph had great symbolic value for Mexico. These directors and other Mexican artists had managed to realize the American dream by directing Robert de Niro, acting alongside of Brad Pitt, and working as photography directors for Tim Burton or the Coen brothers. Regardless of this polemic impossible to resolve in this space , the night of the Oscars could also be said to demonstrate a historic inertia of cinematography in a country which had been capable of generating its own export-quality movies.
In this, the relations between Mexico and the United States have played a fundamental role that is responsible for the present situation—not only cinematographic, but also the economic, political, social and cultural. The initial point of departure for any discussion of Mexican film is its so-called Golden Age, whose exact dates are defined differently by different commentators.
In any case, the period encompassed a little less than thirty years and managed to dominate the film industry in Latin America, with the exception of Argentina. Mexico made the most widely seen films in Spanish on the continent, including in Brazil and the United States; here, in , movie houses showed Spanish-language films, mainly Mexican movies. Commercial success led to thematic richness in the film industry.
This peculiar and weird film demonstrates the good health and diversity of a cinematography capable of making movies in and in , in contrast to the harsh and sad reality of the end of the century, when only thirteen movies were made in The U. Thus, although it continued to be the dominant industry in the world, it had to cede a bit of room to its neighbors. In addition, European film, the second dominant market in Latin America, directly suffered the effects of the war.
Mexico took advantage of the situation when it declared itself an ally of the United States against the German-Italian-Japanese axis. Its Spanish-language film competitors fell behind: Spain was recuperating from a civil war, and Argentina was trapped in its relationship with Germany and Italy. Hence the Mexican movie industry flourished and expanded throughout the continent. In addition to the factor of the war, the Golden Age of movies in Mexico was strengthened by closeness to Hollywood. The proximity of the border allowed many Mexican technicians and film artists to develop their skills in the United States and to learn from Hollywood the difficult art of making movies.
This group is unanimously considered by critics as the crew that brought film aesthetics of Mexico to its highest point during the Golden Age in the middle of the 20th century, a status that even today no one has been able to attain. All three had been in Hollywood under different circumstances, and each one was representative of the diverse strata of Mexican society. He then became an apprentice in several movies, where he learned a bit of everything and was a specialist in nothing. Later, thanks to his athletic figure, he was hired as a double and an extra in movies, including a few for Douglas Fairbanks.
It was wonderful. The idealization and exaltation as a way to construct the identity of the country led the director to create diverse mythic figures that have survived in the local imaginary the Peasant, the Motherland, the Mother, Providence, all with capital letters. The grandfather of the Three Amigos returned from the United States to his country of origin, not to reencounter but to reinvent it and this was somethg he never would have been able to accomplish without the experience of living in the United States, distanced from his home country.
The director would not have accomplished much without the help of another notable artist: the cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa, who also had his own experience in Hollywood. Figueroa received a scholarship in from the Mexican film company CLASA to study with the legendary Gregg Toland, who later would become the cameraman for Citizen Kane and also would take charge of teaching Orson Wells about the language of film.
Through Figueroa, Mexican photography turned into a school with a certain prestige in the world, to the degree that today, fifty years later, there are at least five Mexican cameramen filming in Hollywood and winning Oscars for which Figueroa was nominated, but did not win. She worked with highly regarded directors such as Raoul Walsh, King Vidor and Busby Berkeley, and in even managed to make a hit as a singer on the soundtrack of the silent film Ramona.
Although she contributed to the promotion of the Latin stereotype, her elegant and aristocratic beauty, together with a true dramatic talent, made her a diva in her time; while a minor diva alongside some of the great divas of the period, she achieved greater fame than contemporary Mexican actresses like Salma Hayek, who has not managed to achieve a high-quality role in her North American experience. In , getting close to 40 and knowing that Hollywood tended to put older actresses out to pasture, she decided to return to Mexico.
The director offered her the lead role in Flor Silvestre and this would begin the second act of her career, the face of love and feminine anguish of Mexican melodrama. The director, the photographer, the actress. The wetback, the exchange student, the aristocrat. All the cinematographic sectors and the social strata of Mexico were enriched through this experience. There are also other examples, such as Gonzalo Gavira, the first Mexican to win an Oscar; his award was for the sound effects in The Exorcist.
Another success story is that of Luis Mandoki, the first true filmmaker of this new bevy of directors at the end of the 20th century. Mandoki emigrated to California as a result of the Mexican economic crisis and achieved a certain prestige in Hollywood; years later, in a curious reversal, he returned to Mexico to support the causes of the Mexican and Central American left, making leftist, politically committed films.
Given this history, it is not surprising to see the Three Amigos on stage for the 79th Oscar ceremony. In spite of this history of being good neighbors in the film industry, there are elements that have negatively affected the Mexican film industry, bringing about its present crisis. For example, in , The vicious cycle this produces is evident: if Mexican films do not profit from or recoup their investment, movie production is cut back and thus fewer local films are shown. These protests resulted in an effort to implement a law to protect the Mexican cinematographic market, a law that was completely rejected by Jack Valenti, director of the Motion Picture Association of America and by the U.
The law, of course, never went into effect. Despite these problems, thanks to new digital technologies and the participation of the Mexican government, 70 movies were made in , but only 46 of them were ever shown, and as a result the audience for local movies decreased dramatically. The artificial lifeline that the Mexican state has granted to the movie industry will not help if there is no fair competition within the local market and the Mexican film industry will continue to be in crisis for at least the next few years. This problem can be seen as a microcosm of what has happened in other areas—economic, social, cultural and political—of U.
On one hand, the strong U. The strengthening of national film industries is not possible without strengthening the economy and public policy in each country; at the same time, a robust film industry reflects the autonomy and strength of an economically healthy and democratic country film in totalitarian governments should be considered as a separate, distinct case.
Utopia is still desirable—and still possible. Del otro lado de la frontera el asunto fue muy celebrado y difundido. Cada uno de estos tres personajes de la vida mexicana estuvieron en Hollywood bajo circunstancias diferentes y muy representativas de los diversos estratos de su sociedad. Trabaja con directores de la talla de King Vidor o Busby Berkeley e incluso alcanza en un hit como cantante con el soundtrack del film silente Ramona.
La crisis actual del cine mexicano se debe en parte a esto. La ley, por supuesto, nunca entra en vigor. Then meeting a white Asian tiger in the heart of the Amazon forest? One could very well say that none of those things are remotely possible in the real world. Well, but as a matter of fact, they are the very stuff globalization is made of. These days, instead of trusting your reason or even your instincts, you are rather invited to believe what is shown on a screen.
We are living under the influence of the spectacle gone wild. The scenes described above are part of a new Brazilian? However, the entire budget for the production had to be spent in Brazil, which technically made it a Brazilian film. But is it, really? Welcome to a new age. Once upon a time there was a rather prestigious tradition called Brazilian cinema. Nowadays what you are going to have will be more and more films made in Brazil. It might sound pretty much the same, but it is not. Some call it globalization, others call it outsourcing, everybody agrees though that local contexts, cultural singularities and historical circumstances need to be erased if your aim is to place a visual product in the world market, designed for indiscriminate consumption.
Within this new strategy, the more you neutralize the local flavors, enhancing on the other hand the colors, the elegant display and the fancy glasses, cutlery and porcelain, the closer you get to the shiny gates of success. Just follow the victorious formula of internationally acclaimed new cuisine. Along that path you would eventually get into Plastic City. Brazilian film producers were in fact among the first to take a step into the huge and highly coveted Chinese market. Rede Globo, the most powerful Brazilian media network, involving publishing, press, radio, recording, video, TV and film productions, was a pioneer in selling its main product, soap operas, to the Chinese.
Although both films enjoyed wide international success, receiving positive reviews and being acclaimed by audiences wherever shown, they could still claim their place as belonging to the tradition of Brazilian cinema. However much they might have tapped into the visual dialects of TV and Hollywood narrative resources, and they did a lot, they nonetheless strived to capture the real social tensions behind the excruciating violence that engulfed the favelas of Rio de Janeiro with the invading swarms of rival gangs trafficking cocaine and crack-cocaine from the s onwards.
In that sense they might have a different syntactic structure and an expressive voice of their own, but they were in line with the critical tradition and political awareness so typical of Brazilian Cinema Novo of the s and 70s. They were both mostly financed by resources collected from local and small film producers, relying on quite limited budgets. Their remarkable success, however, most of all with respect to international audiences, was due less to their ethical stances or political concerns relative to the local and the Brazilian contexts than to their visual impact and the sheer degree of crude violence that they openly displayed.
So, regardless of their good intentions, what they intended to show as a tragedy was mostly received as a spectacle, a very amusing one at that, thanks to their striking visual skills and their rather hyperbolic narrative techniques. The film was shot on two different continents, two different hemispheres and in four different countries: Brazil, Uruguay, Canada and Japan. It was granted the rare privilege of being shown at the opening session of the Cannes Festival in This time, what we have is rather globalization by design.
Even more revealing than this massive convergence of global resources is the effect that such a complex blend of diverse cultural sources had upon the aesthetic configuration of the film itself. The whole work shows a deliberate effort to dispel any concrete references to specific geographic, historic, social, ethnic or cultural background. The title Blindness is meant to suggest a rather wide gamut of blocked senses. In many ways it could even be understood as a critique of the detrimental effects of globalization upon local cultures and social bonds in general.
But, once again, good intentions aside, it could as well stress the conclusion that the many processes that lead to cultural dissolution and wrecked communities are so well advanced by now that we have already passed a point of no return. Damage is done, the world as we used to know it is gone for good, as an irretrievable past.
Changes were so fast and so huge that they became irreversible. We might not accept it or we might not see it that way yet, but that is because we are all plagued now by a new and particularly morbid form of blindness. The story begins with a sequence of scenes showing the complex dynamics of daily life in a huge metropolis: people rushing through the streets, amidst skyscrapers and metro stations, seen in shop windows, climbing stairs, accessing lifts and elevators, surrounded by endless masses of vehicles moving in all directions. Fast camera movements, interspersed with precise cuts, focus on visual signs of diverse nature, lights, colors, poles, posters, letters, drawings, symbols, logos, spots, all the plethora of signals people have to rely on in order to find their way within the chaos of the metropolitan daily rush.
This multiplicity of visual codes reminds us of how much modern life has become ever more dependent on sight and visual orientation, to the detriment of other senses and of our affective needs. Urban order is a coordinated result of rational planning, mechanical discipline of bodies and vehicles, all operating through strict sight-oriented navigation. Rational systems provide the background while visual communications prevail in the foreground in a perfectly integrated network, where human beings are the vibrating molecules that keep the whole hive going.
All of a sudden, an epidemic of blindness falls upon this world order. Disruption is instant and total. Since absolutely everything is dependent on visual orientation, the whole system collapses like a sand castle touched by an unexpected wave. Only then do people realize that they were already blind long before. From within the ensuing chaos, the character played by Julianne Moore emerges as the modern Ariadne.
She is the only one who is not affected by the epidemic. She will eventually use her sight to drag a group of people out of the deadly vortex by a rope. They are a group of twelve-- a rather symbolic number, like the apostles, the knights of the Round Table, the twelve peers of France, hence a flicker of hope. To make things more interesting, one could compare Blindness with another film, shot just about a year earlier, The Smell from the Toilet Drain , directed by Heitor Dhalia. It is a local production by a myriad of little independent producers, with an all-Brazilian cast, made with a rather restricted budget, which nevertheless achieved a warm reception among audiences and critics in general.
For all these credentials we could consider it as a part of traditional Brazilian cinema, old style. But is it? Surprise, surprise, it has a lot to do with Blindness. First of all, it is also an allegory that makes a similar effort to erase any solid references to time, place and context. The story is about the owner of a second-hand shop, who humiliates and abuses the sellers when they come to his office because he knows they are desperate for the money.
Taking for granted that everybody has a price, he wants to shout out loud to his victims how shamefully cheap they actually are. Their degradation gives him the pride of a superior rank, a discriminating mind, a prophylactic mission and a noble destiny. As many others scattered all over big cities, he is a modern Dr Faustus, a master in the business of buying and selling souls. The camera plays an essential role in these dialogues of degradation. Since the shopkeeper and his customers are seated in front of one another, it is the sight of the powerful buyer which casts down the humble seller.
Thus clever camera movements underscore this abject play, by directing the wide-open eyes of the greedy man to the abased countenance of his dispossessed clients. The women are additionally humiliated; he demands that they expose themselves nude to his possessive eyes. At a certain point the shopkeeper buys a large artificial eye, immediately terrifying his victims with his triple sight. Here we have almost the opposite of Blindness , meaning, however, almost exactly the same thing.
Reason is equal to sight that is equal to power. Closing the eyes of the shopkeeper for good becomes not only the main aim of all those vilified creatures but also the ethical stance of the film itself. Although the production of this film is not cosmopolitan, the final product can nevertheless be shown anywhere in the world without losing any of its decisive features or meanings. It is not designed to talk to Brazilian audiences in particular about their concerns, but to world audiences at large, about world dilemmas present and future. Although produced, directed and shot in Brazil by Brazilians, it can travel the world over.
In this case, again, it is world cinema made in Brazil, rather than Brazilian cinema. Is this new trend good? Is it bad? Of course, it is up to the individual to form his or her own opinion about it. What is clear, however, is that when cinema assumes a worldly configuration, it becomes more abstract, more aloof, more thinly shaped into universal parables and empty surfaces.
After all, the world is more of a word than a place.
Full text of "In Defiance Of Boundaries Anarchism In Latin American History"
Being everywhere is also being nowhere in particular; referring to everybody also misses the concrete living creature. The films and the trends discussed here ring an alarm. Trying to encompass the world as whole into a single scene, as a sublimated Plastic City submitted to the panoptic eye of its globalized camera, cinema risks creating the most monumental ever form of collective blindness. To frame the poetics of the ordinary in terms of subtlety and delicateness is to propose an antidote both for cynicism and for what I call Neo-Naturalism.
Neo-Naturalism features an aesthetics of excess, of violence and cruelty, that is considered to be more suited to dealing with our times. At the national level, civil wars, multi-ethnic urban conflicts, and narco-trafficking emerge as themes to represent an apocalyptic and hopeless barbarism of our times. Alongside this movement, another cinematography, grounded on a poetics of everyday life, has emerged, which I shall call the lineage of a lost delicateness. Without sounding like a nostalgic Bossa Nova, I think this trend seeks to recover the subtlety that is so present in the songs by Chico Buarque and Paulinho da Viola.
For, far from mere escapism from a cruel reality, they translate into ethical and aesthetic alternatives. From the viewpoint of the modern Brazilian movies, it is important to remember, in this initial reflection about the ordinariness of intimacy, that a long tradition marks the home by the nostalgia of colonial spaces, of a lost rural environment. There is much lyricism in the account of the home, regardless of the decadence of rural patriarchy.
Two other works in this genre deserve further analysis.
That would be more praise than criticism. Domingos de Oliveira is another s director distanced from Cinema Novo, which might explain his not being highly regarded. Another New Cinema director is Carlos Diegues. This is neither about perverting the family as in the work of Nelson Rodrigues, nor about over-privileging representations, but about retrieving family affection in its fragility. Not the violated, but the sheltered, protected body. This journey is just beginning. She greeted her husband when he walked in at the end of the day, and asked him about his meeting at the office, but as soon as he finished replying, she could no longer remember what she had asked him.
Having put on two drops of her precious Chanel no. When that unique peacefulness penetrated the room, semi-lit by a dim table lamp, she knew she was dying. Then, she could hear a bit less, and felt a dizziness like a ship in a sea storm. And when the dizziness was gone, and she opened her eyes, she smiled because, actually, it was all so simple. Denilson Lopes noslined bighost. Likewise, we may agree that national cinemas seek to define, challenge, and reshape national identities.
For Brazilians me included , it is important to break out of our comfort zone to observe how others perceive us, even if through a reflection of a distorted mirror, to help us examine our collective identities. For Americans, it is interesting to reflect upon the type of foreign movies that are successful and also those that are unsuccessful in the United States, to try to understand the rationale for their failure or success. Such outcomes are obviously often revealing of cultural values and beliefs. Brazilian cinema has a long tradition of struggling to represent its multicultural and multiethnic population on the screen.
There is, however, no question that Brazilian cinema raises other kinds of interesting discussions that go beyond the important question of denouncing extreme poverty and oppression.
Political women in Morocco : then and now /
In this short essay, I briefly analyze how U. More specifically, I looked at nearly fifty course syllabi from colleges all over the country that include Brazilian cinema in some fashion and divided them into four categories. The tendency is to offer at least a whole unit dedicated to the study of Brazilian cinema. Not surprisingly, even a brief examination of our corpus reveals that there is a heavy accent on Cinema Novo New Cinema , the Brazilian film movement celebrated by intellectuals all over the world.
This movement lasted for more than a decade and, predictably, is quite heterogeneous. Curiously enough, very few syllabi propose to screen entire films from the first phase of Cinema Novo. Many courses include only a selection of clips, most likely featuring Vidas Secas and Deus e o diabo na terra do sol. These movies are certainly superb in many ways, including their cinematic approach to translating Brazilian reality for the screen.
Their aesthetic, however, differs radically from the action-packed style to which the U. Therefore, professors might have chosen to introduce Cinema Novo in homeopathic dosage, so students might become interested without being overwhelmed by long movies that pertain to a very different cinematic tradition. The second phase of Cinema Novo has as its landmark the infamous military coup, which had a profound impact on Brazilian society.
In the third phase began, when a coup within the coup almost completely banished civil rights in Brazil. During the second phase, filmmakers had to deal with their dismay over the disastrous authoritarian regime. The filmmakers sought to explore the reasons behind the sudden squashing of the left and progressive forces in Brazil.
Their disenchantment led them to produce movies that revealed their despair through characters adrift, hopelessly searching for answers. In this bitter new phase, Cinema Novo directors also had to face the fact that, although critically acclaimed, their movies did not attract the popular audiences with whom they wanted to dialogue. The reaction to this failure was the production of films imbued with social criticism but with popular appeal that would enable them to perform well at the box office Xavier, The military implemented greater censorship restrictions and persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, killed, or exiled left-wing individuals from all walks of life, including hundred of intellectuals.
Cinema Novo directors who remained in the country chose to overcome censorship by resorting to tropicalista strategies. Tropicalismo was an artistic movement from the s that encompassed all sorts of artistic manifestations including poetry, music, theater and, of course, film. Tropicalism rendered patriarchal, traditional cultures anachronistic using the most advanced or fashionable idioms and techniques in the world, thus producing an allegory of Brazil that exposed a real historical abyss, a junction of different stages of capitalist development.
Tropicalism has its roots in the s and, more specifically, in the ideas of Oswald de Andrade, who proposed a strategy of cultural anti-imperialism, in which foreign cultures from the so-called developed countries should neither be rejected nor naively accepted. Instead they should be devoured, digested, recycled and mixed with local cultures to produce new cultural paradigms. Several hypotheses explain the popularity of this movie in the classroom setting. Since it was made to reach out to a large audience, it is one of the most palatable examples of Cinema Novo films, and U.
Furthermore, the powerful dark-comedy is full of allusions to historical events. Thus, it could serve as a means to discuss Brazilian history and artistic movements, including Portuguese colonization, the attempts by France to seize Brazil, cannibalism as a real indigenous practice and as an artistic-political concept. Ironically, the film became renowned through the world in large part because its nudity content led to its banishment from the Cannes film festival.
In this sense, the movie also offers the option of examining whether and how nudity can be used in film in a non-exploitative manner. Briefly, this movie portrays the birth of a slum in Rio de Janeiro and the escalation of crime, violence, and drug-dealing over two decades in that environment.
Cidade de Deus presents violence in a decontextualized manner, without any reference to the origins of this social plague or any discussion about its systemic nature. The favela is depicted as completely detached from the urban environment; its inhabitants are portrayed as gangsters who kill each other without purpose. The frantic rhythm of Cidade de Deus , with guns shooting in the background, knives and blades shining in the sun, and corpses everywhere, leaves the audience breathless. In most courses pertaining to the first category of syllabi and even in some survey courses about Latin American cinema, which belong to the second category, Cidade de Deus tends to be selected as the only movie representing Brazil.
One wonders whether its use simply reinforces the stereotype of violence in large Brazilian cities. I hope, however, that it serves as a platform to discuss larger social issues and different modes of representing violence on the screen. This is a serious issue, insofar as students often form their first impressions of politics, culture and even geography from movies, whether seen in a theatre or a classroom context.
The choice of films to go on a syllabus is significant because it is not random. When designing a course on Brazilian cinema or even a short unit about it, several questions come to mind. Its main purpose is to explore Brazilian cinematic representations through American lenses. I believe that there is no single answer to these questions. All depends on the context, which is inevitably constantly in flux. Every spring she offers a writing-intensive course on Brazilian cinema that aims at introducing students to cinematic traditions in Brazil, as well as to Brazilian culture, stylistics, language variation, and academic Portuguese.
Throughout the year , while I was finishing my book Otros mundos on New Argentine Cinema, I kept thinking both about recent film productions and the turmoil caused by the Peronist government in the s. As I was putting the finishing touches on my book, I took frequent breaks to view the televised march to the Plaza de Mayo —a so-called popular mobilization— that had been organized by the new Peronist government.
In retrospect, the film seems prophetic. In its final scenes, it not only invokes the people as a subject of history, but also predicts their return to full glory. Once the fiction that had been constructed by the Peronist government of Carlos Menem in the 90s dissipated, the people returned to the forefront to participate actively in decision-making. Memoria del saqueo restores the idea of politics in film because it assumes the presence of the people the appearance of many of them in the background as a central conceptual category of the film.
After several works of fiction, with Memoria del saqueo , Solanas returned to the language of the physical—the use of the human body— that had characterized his first film with its nervous movement of the camera in the middle of the street what a witness in danger would see and with shots of agitated and vociferous bodies trying to unmask the power and the falseness of the image. He depicts the choreography of multitudes whose their enthusiasm and political objectives transformed them into el pueblo , hence into protagonists of history.
In any case, the fact is that Solanas returned the great tradition in which masses of people burst upon the silver screen, and that film, in turn, creates an image of the people. The image in trance, through that image the multitudes pass to acquire a visible form in the choreography of bodies that fills up the big screen, that goes beyond the screen and shatters it. Movies from the 90s often questioned the discrepancies between the politics of action and politics in the form of strategic thinking , and one of the ways these films dealt with the issue of politics was to leave images empty through several means.
The most extreme example of this emptying process was that of Lisandro Alonso en La libertad : in this film, there is almost never more than one person in sight, and from the very beginning, the concept of freedom and the image of people appear as a dichotomy. Another strategy is that of Pablo Trapero: in El bonaerense a film about a policeman nicknamed Zapa in Buenos Aires Province , the protagonist comes upon a piquetero march, but simply goes his own way, paying no attention to this mass protest that blocks the road.
It is as if the El bonaerense had encountered a fragment of Memoria del saqueo , but had not fallen under its spell. Unlike the famous poster for The Hour of the Furnaces , showing close-ups of faces distorted by shouting, the scenes in Silvia Prieto register apathetic or unexpressive faces. We go from the world of the masculine to a feminine multitude, from social demands to demands for life, from the audacity of popular outcry, expressed through shouts that fill up the screen, to emptiness and dispossession as elemental starting points.
Rather than seeing politics as an external fact that sustains the image, these films—negating the category that dominated Argentine film from the 60s to the 80s—introduce the concept of the political through images, as a force in and of itself and as an open question. In addition to the appearance of the Virgin, the miracle is that the pilgrimages and tourism by the faithful have changed the economy of the city so that it revolves around religious tourism.
The substitution of the believer for the worker, of the consumer for the citizen, demonstrates the decline of political belief as the central factor in the choreography of masses. Moreover, the very body of woman becomes inserted into the image, bringing an irreversible and complex link between the public and the private that will displace those choreographies of public space of politically militant films through this complex umbrella of concepts under which the public and private have to be constantly redefined.
A diagnosis for changing times, emptiness, however, is a negation of the political that allows the interpretation of politics as impossibility, deficiency and even disorientation a position that in any case does not cease to be powerful if one thinks of it as a rejection of identity or political demands to which films were subject in Argentina for a long period.
However, in this instance, nothingness replaces the people because the public scenario in which the actors operate, as well as the very concept of pueblo , have been thrust into crisis. Instead of relying on conventional techniques of making the people visible they are just outside and will burst upon the screen , these more recent films take a tiny detail such as a fingerprint or a clue as their starting point.
In this manner, they create connections between the bodies choreographies and identities that are never perceived as stable. In the process of creating community from fragmented parts, an emptiness is always created as well. It is precisely in this twilight between community and emptiness that I believe we ought to think of how the political is portrayed in new Argentine film.
How can one penetrate the state so that it will have to tell the truth? This seems to be the question that characterizes the first investigations of the protagonist the director himself. In total contradiction to this mandate, Prividera uses film to see more, to see everything that is possible to see, though not exactly the truth, but the ways in which individuals have processed the past into a regime of fiction that consists of repressing the intolerable.
Indeed, several of the documentaries about militancy and the disappeared in Argentina stage a body, rather than a scene. The many the collective, the community cannot help displaying the fissure that makes any choreography impossible. In contrast to this temporal and intellectual out-of-phase quality that M explores is Copacabana , one of the more energetic films marked by collective choreography, that.
Made as a television documentary to illustrate the preparations for the celebrations for the Virgen of Copacabana by the Bolivian community in en Buenos Aires, the final scene occurs along the border and in customs, when Bolivian immigrants entering into Argentina are being checked by the border guards. After first traveling through the fair, the film focuses on a series of dances that shine on their own right.
The bodies registered by the camera move with coordination and grace throughout the entire course of the film, even in a meeting of the the bosses in which organization co-exists with argument. Here are two unrelated orders that do not mix, and their rhythms are constantly present throughout the film: the eye of the director upon the lives of his subjects, neither surrendering to the other.
This encounter between the Bolivian community and the most modernist of the New Argentine Film directors, also the involved son of a disappeared woman, also the actor-director who rejects any gesture of sentimental identification is what produces the political. As separate entities, they do not connect the image with politics. However, they do make us ask about the very possibility of politics when certain traditional categories—like that of the people—no longer are dynamic or effective.
Gonzalo Aguilar is a professor at the Universidad de Buenos Aires.
La comunidad es algo por venir en un ensamblaje de partes que se hacen visibles, anulando toda exterioridad. La comunidad boliviana vive camouflada en una ciudad que es totalmente indiferente a su existencia como lo subrayan las excepcionales perspectivas urbanas de Rejtman pero no por eso se diluye y abandona su trama secreta. Dos formas que se encuentran sin claudicar una frente a la otra. By Ana Amado. At the same time, they use these diverse expressions as a form of memorial tribute.
Several recent Argentine films took their vital energy from this process, as children of the victims dedicated themselves to the task of reviewing the past.
Since the mids, these creative men and women have been distilling their testimonies through heterogenous narratives based on a mix of references, a variety of voices, an accumulation of knowledge. Audiovisual material is perhaps the most frequently used supporting technique, with new combinations and unexpected constructions of ways of creating private biography through stories with strong historic and narrative implications.
These young men and women are filmmakers, video producers and artists who follow the international growing trend of the last decade to make documentaries that explore issues of memory and identity. In the group of documentaries dedicated to the consequences of the dictatorship, films made by the children of the victims and survivors have a very particular role, focusing on history to find a voice and a generational space in the context of the present debates about the 60s and 70s in Argentina.
That decade witnessed a surge in collective and social forces; neither actions nor ideas could be linked to individual agents. Today, the revolutionary actions of the parents are reconstructed through an aesthetic act on the part of their children, who portray them as heroic subjects seen through their own narration. Nevertheless, they are resistant to the type of relatively idyllic representation that characterized documentaries from the earlier generation.
In the late 90s and the first years of this century, a series of testimonial documentaries register a critical or self-critical stance by former political militants and guerrillas, who revisit their actions in the 70s with the more structured language of politics as an institution. A similar tendency can be found in testimonial literature. In contrast, the voices in the documentaries by the children recreate the childhood memories filled with the violence of kidnappings, absences, death and images in which the daily perception of threats seems to be associated precisely with the language of politics.
Each film offers direct or indirect ways of revisiting the actions and political discourse of the previous generation. The filmmakers can elect to remain at the margin of the political arguments that led their parents to sacrifice their lives in order to concentrate on the failed circuits of their own wounded memories with the help of a family integrated by their generational and vocational peers. The polemical film Los rubios by Albertina Carri is one example of this type of film.
Distancing themselves from inherited discourses, each film tries to invent a way of supporting its arguments about what is reasonable or irrational, what is sensible or resolutely subversive in the review of the history of the period of the dictatorships. And in this review and invention of past scenes that are imagined in various forms, the children frame the idea of generations as a narrative and temporal construct as well as a biological one of genealogy, as a form of resistance to their legacies and, finally, as a formal operation of timelessness.
The question becomes why the parent followed the path of desire—that of the revolutionary cause, even though death was one of the possible consequences—instead of guaranteeing his or her presence to the children. The viewer thus catches a glimpse of an ambivalent image hovering between an epic profile of parents who are protagonists in a collective historical endeavor and at the same time deserters in the sphere of private emotions. At the same time, the very existence of the orphans or bereaved familiars is precisely the proof that we could call unique, that is, symptomatic, of the traumatic way in which politics intertwines with the language of intimacy and of experience.
Their formal operations of disassociation and fragmentation give the films a certain aesthetic modernity, although, paradoxically, they reject the all-encompassing figures of political modernity in which their parents participated in the 60s and 70s through their belief in revolution.
On the other hand, dependency is revealed in the attachment to origins, in the resurrection of an absent subject that in some cases is portrayed or emerges fitfully; an extreme example of this elision is found in Los rubios in which throughout the entire movie no image replaces the emptiness of absence. Or the subject is evoked invoked, narrated, explained by a series of witnesses that replace the absent dead person who is unable to testify. Through images, texts or testimonies, literally and metaphorically, characters, ideas, places, events, situations and values are resuscitated within a historic gallery designed by the narrators and populated by a multiplicity of named portraits: the ghosts of the 70s.
The language of theatre has operated in a similar fashion. On the local stage, the first was Teatro por la Identidad Identity Theatre which in the past decade has presented a cycle of plays destined to support from the realm of creativity the strategy of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo to find and identify the young people who were whisked off as babies from concentration camps by the dictatorship.
Personal history is converted into the direct revelation of collective history. Instead of representing characters imagined by an author, the characters play themselves and tell their own stories and those of their parents. Director Lola Arias, born in , is the same generation as her actors-characters. She describes her staging and intentions: "Six actors born in the decade of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s reconstruct the youth of their parents through photos, letters, tapes, used clothing, stories and erased memories.
Who were my parents when I was born? What was Argentina like before I learned to talk? Each actor does a remake of scenes from the past to understand the future.
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As doubles for the risk of their parents, the children wear their clothing and try to present the family history Ana Amado is an Argentine essayist and film critic. Fempress , as well as the author of numerous texts in books and magazines in Argentina and abroad. En el conjunto de documentales dedicados a las consecuencias de la post dictadura, los realizados por los hijos ocupan un segmento particular, enfocado a revisar la Historia y a afianzar una voz y un espacio generacional en el marco de los debates actuales sobre sesenta y los setenta en la Argentina.
O el sujeto es evocado invocado, narrado, explicado por una serie de testigos que lo reemplazan en su calidad de testigo muerto. Cada actor hace una remake de escenas del pasado para entender algo del futuro. Como dobles de riesgo de sus padres, los hijos se ponen su ropa y tratan de representar su historia familiar. Carla reconstruye las versiones sobre la muerte de su padre que era guerrillero del ERP. Blas se pone la sotana de su padre cura para representar la vida en el seminario. Pablo revive la vida de su padre como empleado de un banco intervenido por militares.
In , Fernando Ezequiel Solanas b. The film has never been restored in its entirety, and few have seen it. Nevertheless, it remains a legendary testimony to collective political unrest, particularly influential for its promotion of cinema as a new vehicle of protest against a ruling regime. His career in cinema began at age 26, with the filming of Seguir andando Divided into three parts, the minute documentary managed to be many things at once: instrument of leftist political and social protest; manifesto; educational cinematic debate; essay of cultural interpretation of Latin America in general and of Argentina in particular; a filmic collage, collecting and juxtaposing fragments from other films of the period; active artifact in the democratization of images; unofficial history.
It was also the most controversial film of the s. The following year, Solanas went into exile. Without losing his political mission, the filmmaker started to develop fictional stories, mixing present realities with the political and cultural myths of Argentina, as he had begun to do with Los hijos de Fierro. Music, mise-en-scene, and concern with the plastic and the visual assumed primacy in his work.
This new combination of elements produced a masterpiece of intense emotional force: Tangos, el exilio de Gardel Tangos is the great film of South American exile. In Tangos , Solanas directs a film that is both personal and representative of the era. This aesthetic is risky, but at the same time participates in a musical tradition that is well established both inside and outside the cinema.
The splendid choreography displays a variety of tango styles, from traditional to modern, allowing the dance to shine. The progression also shows that the narration, too, is mobile, and should not remain paralyzed in a simple realist telling. The sets and cinematography achieve a ghostly atmosphere, with lights curiously multiplied by mist, smoke, and rain-wet ground.
Sur does not employ the choreography of Tangos , but the two films share the aesthetic required to tell a subjective story in an objective manner. Sur is the story of love for a woman, for a city, and for a country. Democracy is supposed to permit and promote political and cultural criticism. El viaje and La nube satirized the government, and not without consequence. Argentina, In Buenos Aires, people took to the streets in massive and irrepressible protests. The president declared a state of siege, which only aggravated the situation. The more police that were sent to the street to repress the uprising, the more hopeless the battle for control became.
These events energized Solanas, as they did thousands of other Argentines. He was inspired to capture on film a historical milestone that, while it had plenty of antecedents, would have far-reaching consequences. Solanas felt that current events should be explored in order to understand the historical moment, as well as the ones that would follow.
Above all, he wanted to put in perspective a long history of governmental corruption, on the one hand, and the history of popular resistance on the other. Three decades had passed since La hora de los hornos , when Solanas rediscovered the cinema of the street. Cinematographic techniques had changed in these years, and heavy 16mm cameras were traded in for camcorders and high-definition digital. With these innovations, the cinema of Solanas regained its youth.
Indeed, Solanas narrates each of these films himself, speaking on camera with his protagonists. Inverting the perspective of Memoria del saqueo , which relates the abuses of the system, La dignidad de los nadies tells the story of popular resistance. This last film undertakes a sharp illustration of the looting with just a single example: the state railroads.
In some sections of the film the thefts described are nearly unbelievable: looters make off with not only thousands of steel rails, but also with the warehouses that stored them. As in all of his films, Solanas points directly to the names of the accused. In this sense his films are also escraches , a colloquial and untranslatable word that describes physical acts of denunciation, peaceful but effective actions of the victims themselves, that is, the citizens.
Accompanying these acts is the cinema, the means of communication most feared by the System. His critical work has recently focused on Latin American cinema. Los antecedentes de Solanas no se ubicaban exclusivamente en el campo del cine. En los militares dieron un nuevo golpe de estado en Argentina.
Con estas opciones, el cine de Solanas fue joven otra vez. Producer Lita Stantic b. Incredibly generous with her time and opinions, Lita Stantic was kind enough to receive me on two early autumn afternoons in May, at her beautiful office in the Palermo Hollywood neighborhood of Buenos Aires where we discussed the course of her long and storied career. Lita Stantic : There are now new generations and perhaps with the new generations, the same impact is not felt as with the so-called New Argentine Cinema.
And moreover, in previous years, there were generations of young folk in film that were quite mixed, no? The generation— the one that began in the late 90s——is more homogeneous in regards to age, with everyone ish to ish. In regards to the generation of the 60s, this generation was more individualistic. The generation of the 60s was more of a cohesive group.
Here they are It is not a generation, because it is a group of people who began to make their first film over a number of years, but these films represent a departure in Argentine film. LS : And the new is already starting to be old, right? The ex-new. Ever since I was a little girl, I saw Argentina as a place of salvation.
I associated Europe with the war. It seems unbelievable after all that has happened in Argentina. I could not live in another place, and during the dictatorship, I did not leave, in spite of the fact that I was connected to many people who disappeared. I thought at one point that I was going to leave, but I had a very strong relationship with the country and I decided to stay.
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HG : One of the very interesting points about New Argentine Cinema is the political strand underlying it, sometimes quite subtle. LS : I met Lucrecia Martel in What happens is that history imposes itself. At times, an author is showing what she has lived without any intentions of pointing out a certain theme, of marking a historical moment. HG : Most certainly. If we look at that film retrospectively, one notes that it captures a historical moment perfectly.
The curious thing is that there are coincidencesand at time the context filters through; the context always appears, and the context is political. LS : But he did not like giving the film this connotation at the time. But it happens.