Cosmopolitan Film Cultures in Latin America, 1896-1960

Cosmopolitan Film Cultures in Latin America, 1896-1960

Cosmopolitan Film Cultures in Latin America, 1896-1960

Cosmopolitan Film Cultures in Latin America, 1896-1960

Synopsis

Cosmopolitan Film Cultures in Latin America examines how cinema forged cultural connections between Latin American publics and film-exporting nations in the first half of the twentieth century. Predating today's transnational media industries by several decades, these connections were defined by active economic and cultural exchanges, as well as longstanding inequalities in political power and cultural capital. The essays explore the arrival and expansion of cinema throughout the region, from the first screenings of the Lumiere Cinematographe in 1896 to the emergence of new forms of cinephilia and cult spectatorship in the 1940s and beyond. Examining these transnational exchanges through the lens of the cosmopolitan, which emphasizes the ethical and political dimensions of cultural consumption, illuminates the role played by moving images in negotiating between the local, national, and global, and between the popular and the elite in twentieth-century Latin America. In addition, primary historical documents provide vivid accounts of Latin American film critics, movie audiences, and film industry workers' experiences with moving images produced elsewhere, encounters that were deeply rooted in the local context, yet also opened out onto global horizons.

Excerpt

Rielle Navitski and Nicolas Poppe

The past two decades have witnessed an explosion of scholarly interest in Latin American cinema as the globalization of production, distribution, and reception has fueled the resurgence—and, in some cases, the emergence— of commercially viable film production in several Latin American nations. Thanks to new programs of government subsidies, growing opportunities for international coproductions, and increased visibility on the international festival circuit, a diverse group of films from the region has enjoyed impressive distribution and critical attention outside their countries of origin. Yet if, as Elizabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden have suggested, cinema’s social functioning “is being drastically reshaped by the possibilities for global and transcultural knowledge that underpin the film festival as a site for the fashioning of cosmopolitan citizenship,” the very mechanics of film funding acknowledge the historical inequalities that necessarily shape the parameters of this citizenship. the existence of funding bodies that target film production in the so-called Global South—such as the Hubert Bals Fund of the Rotterdam Film Festival and the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund—signals that the disparities between world regions, shaped by the intertwined histories of colonialism and capitalism, continue to inform global media culture in profound and sometimes unexpected ways.

Grappling with an audiovisual culture that is increasingly produced and consumed on a planetary scale and across a range of devices and platforms, scholars have sought to define “global,” “world,” or “transnational” cinemas in terms that are both specific and flexible enough to account for contemporary trends and historical developments. in the process, they have framed . . .

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