Reality Effects

Reality Effects

Simpósio Internacional

Efeitos da Realidade: Poéticas da Localidade, Memória e o Corpo nos Cinemas Argentino e Brasileiro Contemporâneos

Onde: Birkbeck Cinema, London
Quando: November 26-28, 2009

Karim Ainouz, Martín Rejtman, Andrea Tonacci, Gonzalo Aguilar, Jens Andermann, José Carlos Avellar, Alvaro Fernández Bravo, Christian Gundermann, Maurício Lissovsky, Denilson Lopes, Mariano Mestman, Lúcia Nagib, Gabriela Nouzeilles, Sílvia Schwarzböck

One of the most salient achievements of recent Argentinean and Brazilian film, as highlighted by national and international critics alike, has been a regained capacity for observing –or, for staging the observation of– ‘real worlds’. Urban marginality, rural spaces subjected to global crises, the milieus of sexual minorities or of childhood and youth cultures, and political and social memories previously sidelined by hegemonic historiography, have been captured in novel ways by the filmic apparatus, often to the effect of blurring the boundary between fiction and the documentary.

However, the very critical discourse that commends a particular, ‘independent’, cinema for having recovered its auteurial autonomy also frequently relapses into a referentialism that takes Latin American cinema as a site of –auto-ethnographic or allegorical– truth-production about its socio-political context.

Thus, cinema becomes once again the prism through which one can access the real, either as its symptom (the surface expression of certain collective anxieties and obsessions) or indeed as an audio-visual apparatus endowed with the capacity to record and transmit real constellations.

In many ways, then, the notion of a ‘national cinema’ (as related to particular kinds of ‘arthouse’ films) is very much the effect of this presumed truthfullness to a ‘national reality’ construed by the critical discourses which take it as their object. Yet in this construction film criticism paradoxically ‘forgets’ major segments of film production that do not obey its (disavowed) formal and aesthetic preferences, from ‘industrial’ productions and genres to political documentary and video-activism, to name but a few.

The symposium therefore aims to tackle these dominant narratives, inviting us to critically de- and re-construct notions of national cinema in an increasingly globalized image-world. It does so by focusing the question of the real (or, of realism in film) on areas that resist metaphoric or allegorical readings, including figurations of the local and the intimate, the body, and the self. Thus, the event aims to re-conceptualize the real in contemporary cinema as separate from the referential. Topics include:

•           Figurations of locality / intimacy and of exteriority / the margins

•           Fictions of the self

•           Memory and forgetting: political remembrance, cinematic memory, memories of cinema (quotations, archive footage, etc.)

•           Documentary effects: the documental (indexical) outside the documentary genre as such (in feature films, video art, etc.)

Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies, Birkbeck, University of London, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD. Departmental Office tel.: 020 76316145

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