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The other film has everything and nothing to do with Latin America.
The 1966 movie , directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, takes place in North Africa and depicts the Algerian War against French colonial rule.
So I was kind of surprised when I had relative difficulty getting people to write short blurbs about their favorite film—essays you will find scattered throughout this issue. It included films that make us see Latin America in a different light, even if they are not Latin American or about Latin America.
Of course, people are busy, but the reaction seemed to extend beyond the fact of hectic lives. In the process of developing this issue on film, we—myself and my guiding lights Harvard Film Archive Director Haden Guest and Harvard Romance Languages and Literatures Professor Brad Epps—had decided to limit the issue to film in Latin America, rather than including film from Spain and Latino films (a good excuse for another film issue! And I realized that the two most important films for me in that sense fell into that category.
Interest in Latin American cinema has been building for quite some time at Harvard University, as I discovered when I arrived here as Director of the Harvard Film Archive just about three years ago.
It is particularly rewarding to include several pieces by up and coming scholars and historians of Latin American cinema from Harvard such as Humberto Delgado alongside the work of long-established and influential observers of Latin American film from the Harvard community such as Nicolau Sevcenko and visiting professor in Romance Languages and Literatures Gonzalo Aguilar.
Needless to say, it is somewhat risky, if not indeed illusory, to speak of Ibero-American cinema—or, despite the existence of a number of festivals, conferences, books, and collaborative efforts like our own, even to speak of Latin American or Iberian cinema—when what in fact prevails, still today, is a nationally delimited understanding of cinematic works or, more generally, audiovisual products, here Mexican, there Brazilian, and over there Spanish, as it were.
I was surprised just now on researching the film that it is billed as a comedy, because I remembered it as a tragedy, as a young man on his wedding night who is prevented by Mexico’s rickety buses and accompanying mishaps from reaching his mother’s deathbed.So in a sense this issue of Re Vista represents not a retrospective nor a conclusion, but the beginning of a dialogue.By Brad Epps Recent film trends in Latin America and beyond cannot be understood without examining new technologies and their impact on new narrative forms.I also delight in going with friends, passing the popcorn and engaging in the lively debate of a shared experience afterwards.Both experiences are a form of transformation, whether collective or personal, even if I’ve seen the film several times before.
The support of DRCLAS has been invaluable to our efforts and initiatives designed to go beyond the traditional pattern of Eurocentric—and specifically Franco-Germanic—film studies at Harvard and recognize the growing and vibrant community of scholars at the university working on Latin American film.