Latin American Cinema


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Latin American Cinema

  1. 1. What is “world cinema”? <ul><li>It “is a reworking of third cinema . . . . [a] politically engaged cinema (mostly from Latin America) which emerged in the 1970s . . . . Since then, . . . Third cinema has shed its ‘political’ agenda . . . . and has become ‘world cinema’.” -- Thomas Elsaesser (2005) </li></ul><ul><li>It refers “to national cinemas outside Hollywood” at the same time as it places “the national within regional and global perspectives.” </li></ul><ul><li>-- Shohini Chaudhuri (2005) </li></ul><ul><li>“ While the term can refer specifically to Third World cinemas which embody non-mainstream or alternative approaches to film content and/or style, it can equally cover all non-Hollywood or all non-First World cinemas . . .” -- Annette Kuhn and Catherine Grant (2006) </li></ul><ul><li>It is “the world as viewed from the West. In this sense world cinema is analogous to ‘world music’ and ‘world literature’ in that they are categories created in the Western world to refer to cultural products and practices that are mainly non-Western.” </li></ul><ul><li>-- Stephanie Dennison and Song Hwee Kim (2006) </li></ul>
  2. 2. Wimal Dissanayake on world cinema <ul><li>He never uses the term “world cinema” in his chapter “Issues in World Cinema” (1998). Why not? </li></ul><ul><li>He frontloads Third cinema as base for discussing a number of issues related to non-Western cinemas: Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa </li></ul><ul><li>He situates three main groups of films--the popular, the artistic, and the experimental--from these areas firmly within the concept of nationhood, with the artistic emerging gradually as his main focus of interest: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The artistic films, while not immune to commercial pressures, are, none the less, driven by ‘high art’ concerns and tend to be showcased at international film festivals. . . . The artistic cinema tends to offer critiques of the nation-state (and its associated economic, social, political, and cultural discourses and institutions) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>. . .” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But “artistic cinema” is most definitely not Third cinema. What is it? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Latin American cinema--an overview <ul><li>Populations consist of native and African immigrants in the majority, European elite ruling classes in the minority </li></ul><ul><li>In the silent era, film exhibition was tied to the diffusion of Hollywood and European cinema in Latin America, a major market for Hollywood export especially </li></ul><ul><li>1930s-1940s: Hollywood’s flirtation with South American locales, music, and performers (eg. Carmen Miranda, Lupe Velez, etc.), alongside the “Good Neighbour” policy--American aid in exchange for allegiances </li></ul><ul><li>Post-WW II: Central and South America dominated by films from </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The USA; Mexico; major film-producing countries of Europe; Argentina </li></ul></ul><ul><li>European connections </li></ul><ul><ul><li>recognition of certain Latin American films and filmmakers at major festivals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Italian neorealism and the politique des auteurs </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Brazil’s Cinema Novo <ul><li>Launched in the late 1950s by young cinephiles cum filmmakers Nelson Pereira Dos Santos, Carlos Diegues, Ray Guerra, Glauber Rocha, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>More politically motivated than their French New Wave counterparts: wanted to make films about the the ethnic minorities, peasants, and landless labourers of their country </li></ul><ul><li>populism: blend of history, myth, and popular culture </li></ul><ul><li>revolutionary: stylistic innovation, advocacy for the disenfranchised </li></ul><ul><li>President Jo ão Goulart’s policy of “developmental nationalism” sought to unify and modernise the country--an important econo-political context </li></ul><ul><li>Like their compatriots in other Latin American countries, the Cinema Novo critics and filmmakers were theoretical as well as politicised--thus, manifestoes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Glauber Rocha, “The Aesthetics of Hunger” (1965) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Third cinema <ul><li>Derives in part from the term “Third World,” which emerged at the 1955 Bandung Conference of Afro-Asiatic nations to denote three worlds: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the capitalist First World (Europe, the USA and Canada, Australia, Japan) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the socialist Second World (including China?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the Third World </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mao Zedong proposed a different “three worlds” breakdown: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>USA & USSR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>industrialised nations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>all of the rest </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Third cinema” coined in in 1969 by the Argentinian filmmakers Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First cinema: Hollywood (and Hollywood-derived) commercial cinema </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Second cinema: author’s cinema (I.e., art cinema of the post-war European modes) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Third cinema: “an aesthetic of liberation” </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. “ Towards a Third Cinema” (1969) <ul><li>Solanas and Getino’s manifesto is a companion piece to their four-hour, three-part 1968 film La Hora de los hornos ( The Hour of the Furnaces ) </li></ul><ul><li>A desire to address the legacies of colonialism, neocolonialism, underdevelopment, and political oppression </li></ul><ul><li>Two major concerns: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a rejection of traditional commercial cinema </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the need to use film to serve an ideological, revolutionary end: “the decolonization of culture” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Written from a clandestine position “outside and against the system,” yielding terminology akin to armed struggle: guerrilla filmmaking, militant cinema </li></ul><ul><li>Two complementary procedures are necessary: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the destruction of old cinematic modes and images </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the creation of a new cinema </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Film and revolution in Cuba <ul><li>Fidel Castro’s guerrilla forces overthrow President Fulgencio Batista’s regime on New Year’s Day, 1959. So: Cuba had a successful revolution in a way that other Latin American countries did not </li></ul><ul><li>Cuba had no film industry prior to the revolution. Castro decreed the founding of the Instituto Cubano del Arte y Industria Cinematografico (ICAIC) in March 1959, drawing on a core of filmmaking talent trained abroad </li></ul><ul><li>ICAIC’s small budget gave priority to documentary over fiction, short over feature </li></ul><ul><li>This produced: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>eclecticism of film form: documentary and fiction collage aesthetics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>an apprenticeship career trajectory for Cuban filmmakers, leading to a watershed in the late 1960s as several filmmakers “graduated” to feature films, some of which were honoured at international film festivals </li></ul></ul>