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I also delight in going with friends, passing the popcorn and engaging in the lively debate of a shared experience afterwards.
Both experiences are a form of transformation, whether collective or personal, even if I’ve seen the film several times before.
Stantic’s understanding of the new priorities of the younger generation of filmmakers and the more subtle political register of their work, offers just one example of how the contemporary cinema requires a different set of critical tools than we were previously accustomed to for studying Latin American film.
At the Harvard Film Archive we have been extraordinarily fortunate to have hosted such exciting young contemporary Latin American filmmakers as Lucrecia Martel and Carlos Reygadas as well as important veterans such as Jorge Furtado, all for extended visits and cinematheque retrospectives.
The support of DRCLAS has been invaluable to our efforts and initiatives designed to go beyond the traditional pattern of Eurocentric—and specifically Franco-Germanic—film studies at Harvard and recognize the growing and vibrant community of scholars at the university working on Latin American film.
A major symposium is scheduled to take place this fall, on “el cine como historia”—Film as History— which will bring together a diverse group of academics, filmmakers and archivists for a discussion of the cinema’s active role as a socio-political and cultural force and which promises to be one of the more exciting events of the academic year.
So I was kind of surprised when I had relative difficulty getting people to write short blurbs about their favorite film—essays you will find scattered throughout this issue. It included films that make us see Latin America in a different light, even if they are not Latin American or about Latin America.
Of course, people are busy, but the reaction seemed to extend beyond the fact of hectic lives. In the process of developing this issue on film, we—myself and my guiding lights Harvard Film Archive Director Haden Guest and Harvard Romance Languages and Literatures Professor Brad Epps—had decided to limit the issue to film in Latin America, rather than including film from Spain and Latino films (a good excuse for another film issue! And I realized that the two most important films for me in that sense fell into that category.
These national, even local spaces, often bundled together in a rather simplistic manner as “peripheral or dependent cinemas” (the terms are Paranaguá’s) nonetheless constitute a source of diversity and plurality which is unfortunately often reduced to a merely rhetorical value, as if the relative dearth of communication and collaboration could be remedied by appealing to some vague, oft-repeated principle of “difference” which scarcely leaves a mark on the hegemony of the long-standing, quasi-naturalized distinction—or, better yet, opposition—between Hollywood commercial and European “high-art” ventures. And movie going is an emotional experience or maybe I should say, two types of emotional experience.I love to go to a film by myself, curl up in the seat and lose myself in the darkness to the big screen.The other film has everything and nothing to do with Latin America.The 1966 movie , directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, takes place in North Africa and depicts the Algerian War against French colonial rule.