Given the Argentine writer Manuel Puig's penchant for using and skewering studio Hollywood films and stars in novels such as Betrayed by Rita Hayworth, he has often been understood as partaking in the discourse of camp. This article takes as a jump-off point the contention that camp is an inadequate framework with which to look at Puig's movie fandom precisely because camp usually brackets the very affection for film that is inherent in fandom. It argues instead for understanding Puig as a queer film fan. During almost daily childhood trips to the movies, he was at once seduced and betrayed by Hollywood and its stars. This article argues that Puig's early texts, The Buenos Aires Affair, with its collection of Hollywood epigraphs, and Kiss of the Spider Woman, with its movie-obsessed protagonist, perform the very concept of queer movie fandom. What one sees in Puig's early texts is a desire to re-create the security in the darkened theater he experienced as a child, a security grounded in the very real and material space of the movie house, by imitating the process of film fan spectatorship in his texts' formal and aesthetic construction. Puig as a young queer film fan, whose own sexual desires were awakened by the films he caught in his childhood, is deployed in his novels as someone who not only enjoys watching these films but constantly retrieves those visual memories and manipulates them.
Manuel Betancourt; The Hollywood Affair: Manuel Puig and the Queer Movie Fan. Genre 1 April 2016; 49 (1): 79–94. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00166928-3429249
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