This essay researches the complex role that films portraying Anglo-Latin romances have played in the construction, dissemination, and reconstruction of Latin Americanism—the set of discourses representing and theorizing Latin America from local, U.S., and European perspectives. Authors like Welly Richard, Román de la Campa, Hugo Achugar, Julie Ramos, Walter Mignolo, and Alberto Moreiras have relied on the analysis of literary and historical discourses to articulate their theories of Latin Americanism. By shifting the focus to cinema, and to the depiction of Anglo-Latin romance in both Hollywood and Latin American films, we gain access to an archive that has recorded the symbolic struggle between the conflictive desires that lie at the roots of all forms of Latin Americanism. Commercial films produced both in Hollywood and in Latin America depend for their existence on a continued hemispheric flow of human, industrial, and thematic exchanges. By contrast, films portraying interactions between Latin and Anglo characters insist on portraying narratives of internal homogeneity and external difference across the Anglo-Latin divide. Thus, these films' narratives are constantly placing under erasure the very contact zone that makes their existence possible. Through analysis of the recurrence of the Anglo-Latin romance theme in a wide range of films produced across the Americas—including The Americano (dir. John Emerson; 1917), Doña Bárbara (dir. Fernando de Fuentes; 1943), Week-End in Havana (dir. Walter Lang; 1941), Melodías de América (dir. Eduardo Morera; 1941), Apartment Zero (dir. Martin Donovan; 1989), Spanglish (dir. James L. Brooks; 2004), and Bossa Nova (dir. Bruno Barreto; 2000)—this essay reconstructs an affective history of Latin Americanism and its cinematic allegories.
Cinematic Contact Zones: Hemispheric Romances in Film and the Construction and Reconstruction of Latin Americanism
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Adrián Pérez Melgosa; Cinematic Contact Zones: Hemispheric Romances in Film and the Construction and Reconstruction of Latin Americanism. Social Text 1 September 2010; 28 (3 (104)): 119–150. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-2010-006
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