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Review Studies in Hispanic Cinemas

Studies in Spanish & Latin-American cinemas

Review TECSISTECATL Revista Académica de Ciencias Sociales de México

Year: 2014 vol. 11 n. 2

Bollig, Ben ; Wood, David M. J. Film-poetry/poetry-film in Latin America. Theories and practices: An introduction.  / Cine-poesía / poesía del cine en América Latina. Teorías y prácticas: Una introducción p. 115-125 América Latina
Cine latinoamericano / Adaptación / Cine de arte / Documental / Cine experimental / Intertextualidad
Siglo XX | Siglo XXI


This special issue of Studies in Spanish & Latin American Cinemas is dedicated to the seldom-studied relationship between poetry and cinema in Latin America. Although studies both of the ‘poetics of cinema’ and of literary adaptation in cinema have become established areas of film scholarship in recent years, the diverse modes of formal, aesthetic and ideological exchange between the poetic and the cinematic have received little critical attention. The authors included in this issue analyze the work of film-makers from the 1960s to the present day who have included poetry in their film narratives or aimed to recreate the aesthetics of poets cinematically. We ask, in the broadest terms, how film and poetry transform one another, and how these two expressive media behave when placed into dialogue. We hope that the lines of enquiry that these articles open up will reinvigorate the discussion by shedding light on the cross-fertilization between written and filmed poetry, and by extending the scope of the traditionally prose-oriented debate on adaptation.

D’Argenio, Maria Chiara. A poetic cine urgente: Experimentalism and revolution in Santiago Álvarez’s documentary films.  / Un urgente cine poético: experimentalismo y revolución en las películas documentales de Santiago Álvarez p. 127-145 Cuba
La Revolución Cubana / Santiago Álvarez / Documental / Película Experimental / Narrativa / Poesía
Siglo XX


This article proposes that the ‘poetic’ be conceived as an interpretative category for Santiago Álvarez’s film experimentalism. The poetic nature of Álvarez’s cinema includes the use of poems, metaphors, songs, still photography and found footage and a ‘poetic’ approach to documentary, characterized by non-discursive forms such as music, the absence of conventional narration and narrative forms, a dynamic editing of visual and aural associations and juxtapositions, and an emphasis on the film’s rhythm. By analysing these patterns in films made between 1965 and 1970 and by discussing the concepts of urgency, empathy and performativity, I argue that Álvarez’s experimentalism aims to create a new type of critical and revolutionary public. In this sense, he supports and follows the official cultural policy of the Revolution and the politics of other cultural practices, such as revolutionary poetry and Cuban posters. The poetic nature of his films is, however, ambivalent since it coexists with what can be seen as the anti-poetic par excellence: the narrative.

Wood, David M. J. Nadaísmo on film: Violence, originality and the archive in Paraíso (2006).  / Nadaísmo sobre películas: violencia, originalidad y el archivo en Paraíso (2006) p. 147-165 México
Felipe Guerrero / Paraíso / Cine / Distancia a pie encontrada / Nadaísmo
Siglo XX | Siglo XXI


The experimental film Paraíso (Felipe Guerrero, Colombia, 2006) adapts and translates through time and media the work of the 1950s–1960s countercultural and vanguard literary movement of nadaísmo, specifically the verse of nadaísta poet Jaime Jaramillo Escobar. Merging contemporary images filmed in a now-obsolete super-8mm format with archive footage evoking Colombia’s past, Paraíso takes up nadaísmo’s critical poetics forged in the long wake of the Bogotazo of 1948, and places them in dialogue with the variously violent and utopian actions and discourses of twenty-first century Colombia. As well as suggesting temporal and topographical compression, the film’s juxtaposition of visual and audiovisual modes, gauges, formats and colour-schemes renders in film form Jaramillo’s call for poetic language to be ‘supple, slippery, undulating’. Visual and written poetics thus combine to undermine the fixity of thought that engenders violence at distinct historical junctures. At the same time, they hint, with profound ambiguity, at the possibility of imagining Colombia as the ‘paradise’ of the film’s title.

Martins, Laura M. Contra la museificación del mundo: La orilla que se abisma (2008) y La casa (2012) de Gustavo Fontán. p. 167-177 Argentina
Película argentina / Gustavo Fontán / Juan L. Ortiz / Película no narrativa / Imagen textual
Siglo XXI


Argentine director Gustavo Fontán has been able to make subtle, intelligent bridges between film and poetry. This essay explores the ways this dialogue has been achieved in two of his recent films: La orilla que se abisma (2008) and La casa (2012). The first one focuses on Juan L. Ortiz’s poems. Fontán seems to know how to ‘translate’ Ortiz’s poetic world into images based on the notion that poetry is vision, a febrile state of our sensitivity during which we can see things that are impossible to see while we pass through other states of mind. The second film shows a house that tells its own story in a very poetic way. The house itself seems to register – from its own point of view – how it is being dismantled and destroyed. Fontán has created an atmosphere close to the oneiric state, an atmosphere where past images copulate with the present, where what it is gone still lives within the current ruins.

Ceresa, Constanza. Velocidad y desorientación en Punctum de Martín Gambarotta y Silvia Prieto de Martín Rejtman. p. 179-191 Argentina
Martín Gambarotta / Martín Rejtman / Nuevo cine argentino / Neoliberalismo / Poéticas objetivistas / Poesía de los 90 / Realismo
Siglo XX | Siglo XXI


Martín Gambarotta’s collection of poetry, Punctum (1996), and Martín Rejtman’s film Silvia Prieto (1999) are significant examples of the cultural transformations that took place in Argentina during the 1990s. Both works show the effects of market logic in social space, speech and on new subjectivities. However, this article proposes that the emancipatory character of Punctum and Silvia Prieto goes beyond the mere ‘exposure’ of the corrosive effects of neoliberalism in everyday life. By way of an analysis of certain scenes and poems, this article will discuss how, by taking a critical position ‘within’ present social relations of production (and therefore, their mediations), these works reveal a critique of neoliberalism through an ‘economy of language’ that frustrates mercantile logic, by submitting its rapid mediations to the effects of anti-narrative.

Müller, Adalberto. Manoel de Barros in film: The nature of language and the language of nature.  / Manoel de Barros en la película: la naturaleza del lenguaje y el lenguaje de la naturaleza p. 193-202 Brasil
Cocteau / Manoel de Barros / Pasolini / Intermedialidad / Cine poético
Siglo XX | Siglo XXI


My concern here is to discuss three adaptations of Brazilian poet Manoel de Barros’ work to cinema: Joel Pizzini’s (1986) prizewinning Caramujo-Flor, my own short Wenceslau e a árvore do gramofone (2008) and Pedro César’s documentary Só dez por cento é mentira (2008). I use the word ‘adaptation’ ironically, because actually the three films are everything but adaptations. They are rather ‘devices’ created to somehow ‘read’ and interpret Manoel de Barros’ poetry in cinematic terms. In doing so, they compel cinematographic language to change its ‘nature’ just as nature compels Manoel de Barros to change his poetry. I also clarify the distinction between poetry and cinema, and expansive terms such as Pasolini’s ‘cinema di poesia’ and Jean Cocteau’s ‘poésie de cinéma’, aiming to illuminate the possible connections between art forms apparently diametrically opposed to one another in the way they function relative to their media. In other words, poetry and cinema can live together as long as some process of intermediality takes place.

Studies in Spanish & Latin-American cinemas
Paper | Numerical version with subscription | Cuatrimestral | United Kingdom SLAC
Print ISSN: 2050-4837
Online ISSN: 2050-4845
Year of creation: 2013

Publisher: Intellect Ltd.
Address: The Mill, Parnall Road, Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 3JG, United Kingdom


Formerly published as Studies in Hispanic Cinemas, 2004-2013, the journal is dedicated to the study of Spanish-speaking and Latin American cinemas. Coverage includes the cinemas of Spain and Spanish-speaking South, Central and North America, including the Caribbean, and Brazil. Our target readership includes students, teachers and scholars. The double-blind peer-reviewed journal is written in English to maximize the opportunities for contact between academic disciplines such as Media, Film Studies, Latin American and Post- colonial Studies, as well as Hispanic Studies, thereby encouraging an inter-cultural and inter-disciplinary focus.

Review related to: Studies in Hispanic Cinemas

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