New Argentine and Brazilian Cinema: Reality Effects

New York: Palgrave, 2013.

ArgBraCinemaNew Argentine and Brazilian Cinema is a valuable addition to discussions of recent Latin America cinema. As well as offering stimulating responses to debates on cinematic realism, it provides us with a snapshot of how, through their interrogation of the relations between representation and social reality, artifice and transparency, memory and performance, Brazilian and Argentine films have positioned themselves at the innovative forefront of contemporary world cinemas. […] The use of non-actors, a preference for location shooting, the construction of scenes from everyday life and a certain directness are understood to constitute cinema as a ‘transparent window through which to access the rawness of things in the street’ (p. 2). Like the Italian directors of the 1940s, in this account Latin America’s contemporary filmmakers seek to expose a social reality that, by and large, the films of their previous generation had not. Care must be taken, however, when referring to this newwave in unified or essentialist terms. It is true that the film industries in Argentina and Brazil have followed similar paths since the 1980s, as the editors observe in their introduction. Yet while Argentina’s ongoing economic crisis has encouraged the majority of filmmakers to privilege an authorial, art-house cinema of modest budgets and limited distribution, Brazil has seen a relatively healthy coexistence between a blockbuster industry led by Globo, the country’s largest audiovisual conglomerate, and a steady flow of smaller-budget films aimed at niche markets. It is to this more independent strain of films that the contributors turn their attention. Analyses of international successes such as Cidade de Deus/City of God (Fernando Meirelles, 2002) and El secreto de sus ojos/The Secret in their Eyes (Juan José Campanella, 2009) are present, but more space is dedicated to lesser-known features whose main audience is linked to international festival circuits or to films that have barely travelled outside their domestic borders.

Tatiana Signorelli Heise, Screen

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