Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Global Markets, Hyperlocal Aesthetics: Framing Childhood Poverty in Contemporary Latin American Cinema

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2017), 94, (1), 77–95.

Abstract

Since the turn of the millennium, a significant number of Latin American films have portrayed the experiences of impoverished children, seeking thereby to evoke in global audiences an affective reaction to the poverty of the region. Taking Hermano (Marcel Rasquin, 2010, Venezuela), Voces inocentes (Luis Mandoki, 2004, Mexico), and Los colores de la montaña (Carlos Arbeláez, 2011, Colombia) as representative examples of the genre, this paper explores the filmmakers’ focus on the hyperlocal and the lived experiences of their young protagonists, and their corresponding refusal to engage with ideological readings of poverty, or to explore the broader sociopolitical or historical processes underpinning their subjects’ circumstances. The films’ circumscribed depictions of children in crisis solicit from their international audiences an affective response. In so doing, they acquire a universalism that suggests a critique of global capitalism and a reflection on the political and moral failings of the nation state.

A partir del nuevo milenio, un número importante de filmes latinoamericanos ha representado las vivencias de niños desposeídos con el fin de propiciar en audiencias globales una reacción afectiva respecto a la pobreza en la región. Este ensayo propone una lectura de Hermano (Marcel Rasquin, 2010, Venezuela), Voces inocentes (Luis Mandoki, 2004, México) y Los colores de la montaña (Carlos Arbeláez, 2011, Colombia) como ejemplos de este género para explorar el foco de estos directores en las experiencias hiperlocales de sus jóvenes protagonistas y su rechazo a abordar estos temas desde perspectivas fuertemente ideológicas, o a incluir procesos sociopolíticos o históricos más amplios. Las estrechas representaciones de niños en crisis aquí requieren de sus audiencias globales una respuesta afectiva. De este modo alcanzan una universalidad que sugiere tanto una crítica del capitalismo global como una reflexión sobre el fracaso político y moral del estado.

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Navas, Ana Rodríguez