Crisis and Capitalism in Contemporary Argentine Cinema

Crisis and Capitalism in Contemporary Argentine Cinema

Book Pages: 248 Illustrations: 39 illustrations Published: May 2009

Author: Joanna Page

Latin American Studies > Southern Cone, Media Studies > Film

There has been a significant surge in recent Argentine cinema, with an explosion in the number of films made in the country since the mid-1990s. Many of these productions have been highly acclaimed by critics in Argentina and elsewhere. What makes this boom all the more extraordinary is its coinciding with a period of severe economic crisis and civil unrest in the nation. Offering the first in-depth English-language study of Argentine fiction films of the late twentieth century and early twenty-first, Joanna Page explains how these productions have registered Argentina’s experience of capitalism, neoliberalism, and economic crisis. In different ways, the films selected for discussion testify to the social consequences of growing unemployment, rising crime, marginalization, and the expansion of the informal economy.

Page focuses particularly on films associated with New Argentine Cinema, but she also discusses highly experimental films and genre movies that borrow from the conventions of crime thrillers, Westerns, and film noir. She analyzes films that have received wide international recognition alongside others that have rarely been shown outside Argentina. What unites all the films she examines is their attention to shifts in subjectivity provoked by political or economic conditions and events. Page emphasizes the paradoxes arising from the circulation of Argentine films within the same global economy they so often critique, and she argues that while Argentine cinema has been intent on narrating the collapse of the nation-state, it has also contributed to the nation’s reconstruction. She brings the films into dialogue with a broader range of issues in contemporary film criticism, including the role of national and transnational film studies, theories of subjectivity and spectatorship, and the relationship between private and public spheres.


“Page also pointedly questions the position of current film criticism and theory in relation to so called 'third world' film-making, and is critical of the loose way with which (now household) terms such as globalisation and transnationality are used in this field. She herself deploys those terms with impressive care and clarity, to deliver an acute analysis of a range of key works from the mid-1990s to the present — thus turning what could easily have been a fairly dry exercise into an incisive and engaging argument.” — Mar Diestro Dópido, Sight & Sound

“Page’s work is generally engaging. She systematically asserts that contemporary Argentine cinema operates as a reflection and articulation of post-crisis subjectivities and a sociological tool and framework with which to examine post-crisis society. . . . Page’s significant critical intervention is thus to politicize new Argentine cinema in a way that challenges claims to its ahistoricality. The way Page positions Argentine cinema raises questions of the nation and national cinema that has surged in Argentina during and after the crisis.” — Rowena Santos Aquino, Scope

Crisis and Capitalism is an essential source for the study of Argentine films of the last deca¬des. The incorporation of several film stills add to the reading and help visualize specific points of analysis. More importantly, they complement a text that becomes a window from which we can achieve a privileged perspective from which to see Argentina preparing itself to face the new century.” — Graciela Michelotti, Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies

“[The] breadth of knowledge, subtlety of analysis, and clarity of expression goes far beyond providing a useful introduction to contemporary Argentine cinema. . . . Scholars of Latin American culture will find in Page’s book an essential contribution on globalization and on questions of memory, and for those who study contemporary Latin American cinema, it will be an indispensable foundation for perceptive scholarship grounded in Argentine reality.” — Matt Losada, Film Criticism

“A useful resource for cultural studies as well as film collections. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and researchers.” — K. M. Sibbald, Choice

“Page’s work announces a bold and fresh theorizing of Argentine cinematic culture as an object worthy of its international fame and recognizes the many contributions that Argentine film scholars have made in conceptualizing film beyond the national frame. . . [It] make[s] clear that bold new directions in Argentine film study are certainly underway.” — Jessica Stiles Mor, Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

“This book is likely to become required reading for students of Latin American films, and of interest to anyone concerned with debates of globalization, nationhood, film theory, and memory studies.” — Violeta Politoff, Screening the Past

A useful resource for cultural studies as well as film collections. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and researchers. — John Cheney-Lippold, International Journal of Communication

Crisis and Capitalism in Contemporary Argentine Cinema is an excellent book. Joanna Page gives us a fresh, up-to-date treatment of one of the most significant and exciting Latin American cinemas of recent years.” — Michael Chanan, author of Cuban Cinema

“Given the widespread recognition for the achievements of contemporary Argentine cinema, it is startling that there have been so few scholarly works about it published in English. Taking a major step toward filling this void, Joanna Page offers a fascinating study of recent Argentine films through beautifully situated readings that reveal the cinema’s participation in larger sociocultural debates and historical processes. This is a top-notch work.” — Laura Podalsky, author of Specular City: Transforming Culture, Consumption, and Space in Buenos Aires, 1955–1973


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Joanna Page is a lecturer in Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Cambridge.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1. Nation, State, and Filmmaking in Contemporary Argentina 9

2. New Argentine Cinema and the Production of Social Knowledge 34

3. Labor, Bodies, and Circulation 57

4. Crime and Capitalism in Genre Cinema 81

5. Nation, Migration, and Globalization 110

6. Memory and Subjectivity 152

7. The Politics of Private Space 180

Conclusion 195

Notes 201

Bibliography 217

Index 227
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4472-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4457-5
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