Friday, July 1, 2022

Book and Film Reviews

Here, LAB contributors reflect on the books and films speaking up for social and environmental justice in Latin America.

Venezuela: ‘A la calle’

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A film of ambitious scope which informs the viewer on the last three years in Venezuelan politics, while also painting an intimate and heartbreaking picture of the destruction wrought upon the lives of ordinary people.

Resisting state violence in Cauca, Colombia

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Filmed over three years between 2017 and 2019, Bajo Fuego is an engaging, enraging portrait of a community’s struggle against state abandonment, economic collapse, and a rising tide of violence

What happened to Mexico’s cholombianos?

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Rafael Zafra asks what happened to the cholombianos, the urban tribe portrayed in Fernando Frías de la Parra's Oscar-nominated film 'I'm No Longer Here'.

10 indie Latin American films available to stream in the UK

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These independent Latin American film productions have been carefully selected by Gianna Giordani to showcase the continent's cinematic diversity and artistic mastery.

Once Upon A Time in Venezuela

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For seven years, Rodríguez Ríos followed the residents of the once close-knit village of Congo Mirador, inches away from drowning in murky water, chronicling their desperate attempts to save the community.

A postcolonial retelling of La Llorona

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Enrique Monteverde, a detached ex-dictator, is on trial for genocide. The Monteverde family, in lockdown, slowly loses control. With the help of a new maid, Alma, they must face up to the horrors they’ve continued to deny for decades - by recognising the dead.

‘Santiago Rising’

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“I wanted to capture what was happening in Chile and to pay homage to the strength and commitment of the Chilean people. They are taking on neo-liberalism and a militarised state with stones and trumpets. This is a lesson for the rest of the world, we can learn so much from them."

A search for identity in the Peruvian Amazon

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The short film El Silencio del Rio, ‘The Silence of the River’, by Peruvian director Francesca Canepa, won the Grand Jury Award at the Oscar-qualifying Calgary International Film Festival and is currently longlisted in the Best Short Film category for the 2021 Academy Awards. Mathilde Aupetit considers the film’s blurring of dream and reality in order to present an Amazonian perspective, and its representation of the narrative power of nature.

The Political Economy of Agrarian Extractivism: Lessons from Bolivia

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In his latest book, Ben McKay writes about a commodity that is rapidly expanding in Latin America: soy. Taking a political economy approach, he explores the historical development of the industrial soy complex in the region, carefully analysing society-capital-state relations and looking at some of the contradictions of Evo Morales’ rule.

Narratives of migration through film

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Lia Gomez-Lang takes a close look at Fernanda Valadez’s poignant feature film Sin Señas Particulares (Identifying Features), a tender portrayal of disappearances of migrants on the Mexico-United States border, and LAB recommends other important films presenting narratives of migration.

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