Thursday, December 15, 2011

Final Thoughts

Memorias del Subdesarrollo and Lucia were not necessarily the best choices to represent the heteropatriarchical assumptions of Third Cinema. While they feature the anti-colonial, nationalist spirit of revolution during the move for independence in many Latin American countries, they are more nuanced than other films that might feature the comparison of revolution to heterosexual male virility. They give some space within their narratives to consider questions that are left unanswered by revolution. So in many ways they are aware that independence and revolution did not answer the call and needs of queer people and women. However, these films did not feature their stories at all. In fact, Memorias very consciously objectified women. Part of the film’s failure is in that it raises a lot of questions about the state of revolution, but is content to leave them unanswered, and have the audience, like Sergio, immerse itself completely in political apathy. Lucia at the very least deals momentarily with the question of women in the revolution, but they are only talked about in reference to it, and serve as a conduit to discuss the larger issues of Cuba’s political standing.
Fresa y Chocolate and Kiss of the Spider Woman take off from the point of the departure of these last two films, finally making queer people more transparent in the Latin American context. They are no longer omitted from the story. These two films talk very openly about the role that a queer person has within the confines of a revolution that is mainly heteropatriarchical. Diego and Luis help to blur the lines of what political commitment and nationalism mean. They assimilate into the narrative of revolution, but in a very complex way. The question of mere survival in this revolutionary system is also crucial to them. Though it may seem that they are merely seeking to stay alive, the system is made so as to be inherently exclusionary, and so their political devotion must be manifested through their enduring desire to survive and stay way from persecution.
XXY takes a completely divergent approach from the assimilationist view that Fresa and Kiss exemplify. The struggle of an intersex teenager is confined to that of zir personal home and nuclear family. Zir world is not something that is directly tied to politics, nor is her struggle merely a reflection or reaction to the revolutionary process. The question remains, is this the way that LGBT visibility will continue to be created in Latin American films? It seems that featuring the micro-political movements and everyday actions of queer people on screen is, it itself, a revolutionary act for contemporary Latin American film. The fabric of Latin American society is at the very least disrupted and teased apart by the presence of queer people on screen, and it does so in a way that is very complicated, never adhering to the notion that Latin America is negatively “languaged by sex.”

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