The Politics of Violence in Contemporary Latin American Cinema
This NEMLA 2013 session will examine the social, moral, and aesthetic implications of violence as it has been conceptualized in post-2000 Latin American cinema. The panel aims to start a discussion about the role of new Latin American cinemas in reflecting and confronting the widespread violence in the region. What role does violence play in today's communities? How is it transmitted from one generation to another? How does violence infiltrate and reshape the relationship between the sexes, races, ethnic groups, and social classes? What types of violence dominate? How and why does violence cross national borders? Is violence always transgressive or can it be legitimated? What are the moral connotations of the consumption of violent films?
In 1982, Gabriel García Márquez defined the "solitude of Latin America" as a perpetual cohabitation with violence so unimaginable that artists had to struggle to reflect reality plausibly. In the past ten years, however, violence has become central to the modern individual's experience everywhere. In the late 1960s, Hannah Arendt defined violence as instrumental, a "tool" used to achieve a specific end; it could be "justifiable," but never "legitimate." More recently, Slavoj Žižek has described violence as a threefold concept: the "systemic," mostly economic and political, violence, dominates all relationships and becomes publicly visible only in its "symbolic" and/or "subjective" manifestations. In his latest book, Rob Nixon discusses the notion of "slow violence," which describes the environmental threats and ongoing disasters whose victims are the poor. Films such as *Cronicamente inviável*(2000), *Amores Perros* (2000), *Bolivia*(2001), *Amar te duele* (2002), *Cidade de deus*(2002), *Machuca* (2004), *La mujer sin cabeza*(2008), *Rabia* (2009), *La teta asustada*(2009), *Prometeo deportado* (2009), or *La nana* (2009) explore the political and economic facets of violence in Latin America in response to globalization, increased international tension, and domestic strife.