Lorena Cervera Ferrer (UCL) - 2019-20 Students

Latin American Women’s Political Documentary: Practices and Aesthetics 1970-1995

This practice-based research aims to recapture history through the re-vision of Latin American women’s political documentary from 1975 to 1995. From the 1960s, filmmakers in different Latin American countries began using cinema as a political tool, which led to the emergence of a new politically and socially committed documentary tradition and the film movement known as the New Latin American Cinema. From the 1970s, an increasing number of women filmmakers also began making documentaries that fitted into, diverted from, and ultimately diversified the practices and aesthetics of this film movement. Yet their contributions to its redefinition continue to be overshadowed, and their legacy to women’s (documentary) cinema largely overlooked. Working at the intersection between feminist film theory, documentary studies, and Latin American film studies, this research provides a new lens through which to revisit and rewrite the history of the Latin American documentary. My hypothesis is that women’s documentary cinema in Latin America from 1975 to 1995 unfolded through three main categories and evolved into a corpus of work within the Latin American cinema. I will argue that women’s documentary cinema emerged from the oppositional cinema of the 1960s, was shaped by feminist movements from the 1970s, and was redefined by transnational paradigms. Ultimately, these films raised questions about women’s oppression and gender inequality. The practical component of this research consists in making a short documentary that explores ideas about representation, practices, and aesthetics discussed in my thesis. The documentary is inspired by the work of Latin American women filmmakers such as Marita Barea, Marilú Mallet, Lourdes Portillo, Marta Rodríguez, Helena Solberg, and the Cine-Mujer collectives of Mexico and Colombia in relation to how collaborative processes can challenge conventional ways of representing and mediating female subjects in non-fiction films.

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