Postmodernism, History and Social Critique in Post-Dictatorship Argentine Cinema: A Reading of Eliseo Subiela's 'El Lado Oscuro del Corazon'

By Page, Joanna | The Modern Language Review, April 2001 | Go to article overview

Postmodernism, History and Social Critique in Post-Dictatorship Argentine Cinema: A Reading of Eliseo Subiela's 'El Lado Oscuro del Corazon'


Page, Joanna, The Modern Language Review


There is some agreement that the older modernism

functioned against its society in ways

which are variously described as critical, negative,

contestatory, subversive, oppositional

and the like. Can anything of the sort be

affirmed about postmodernism and its social

moment? (Fredric Jameson, 'Postmodernism

and Consumer Society') (1)

?Que has hecho durante toda tu vida?

Enganar, enganar, nada mas que enganar.

[...] Ya no eres capaz de extender una mano,

de abrir los brazos ...

(A cow, El lado oscuro del corazon)

The divorce of aesthetics from meaningful social critique within the postmodern paradigm has been repeatedly decreed by many of the latter's most prominent theorists. Fredric Jameson claims the major theme of postmodernism to be 'the disappearance of a sense of history, the way in which our entire contemporary social system has little by little begun to lose its capacity to retain its own past, has begun to live in a perpetual present'. The art produced under the sign of the postmodern is anarchic and depthless, symptomatic of 'a society that has become incapable of dealing with time and history' ('Postmodernism and Consumer Society', pp. 179, 171). Indeed, Jean Baudrillard, who, despite his assertion that postmodernism 'doesn't have anything to do with me', (2) remains for many one of postmodern society's most perceptive analysts, attests to a similar 'disappearance' of history and reality in our age of the simulacrum. If there exists a reality which is at all distinguishable from our narrations and simulations of it, it remains inaccessible: the very concepts of historical progress and meaning seem to be indissolubly wedded to those Enlightenment narratives from which postmodernism has declared its liberation. Postmodernism's substitution of a history of fragmentation for one of evolution would appear to undermine its capacity to intervene in issues of sociopolitical significance. Such is certainly the judgement of David Harvey, who asks: 'if, as the postmodernists insist, we cannot aspire to any unified representation of the world, or picture it as a totality full of connections and differentiations rather than as perpetually shifting fragments, then how can we possibly aspire to act coherently with respect to the world?'. (3) Having deconstructed all ideas of historical progress, questioned the existence of a non-discursive reality, and rejected all notions of fixity with regard to meaning, postmodernism appears to have little to offer the socially-committed artist.

Such a conclusion demonstrates little understanding of the politics of postmodern representation and a deficient awareness of its praxis in contexts outside the liberal democracies of Western Europe and North America. Since the end of Argentina's most recent dictatorship in 1983, many Argentine writers and filmmakers have demonstrated a commitment to representing the experience of repression, torture and censorship under an authoritarian regime. Above all, they have engaged with the psychological and social effects of the guerra sucia of 1976-1977, the most intense period of institutionalized violence during which as many as 20,000 people are estimated to have been 'disappeared', tortured and killed by the armed forces. (4) While documentary films and journalistic reports have abounded in the redemocratization period, many of Argentina's most sophisticated artists have found greater expressive potential in an anti-realist aesthetic which resonates strongly with the theories and cultural practices of European and North American postmodernism. In their art, the postmodern aesthetic is not the irreverent, apolitical anarchism that it so often becomes for Jameson and Harvey, but rather a singularly appropriate tool for the denunciation of the totalitarian abuse of power and for the exposure of its image-productions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Postmodernism, History and Social Critique in Post-Dictatorship Argentine Cinema: A Reading of Eliseo Subiela's 'El Lado Oscuro del Corazon'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.