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May 2012
280 pages  

6 x 9
9780822961918
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Transition Cinema
Political Filmmaking and the Argentine Left since 1968
Stites Mor, Jessica
Transition Cinema documents the critical role filmmakers, the film industry, and state regulators played in Argentina’s volatile and unfinished transition from dictatorship to democracy. Jessia Stites Mor shows how, during periods of both military repression and civilian rule, the state moved to control political film production and its content, distribution, and exhibition. She also reveals the strategies that the industry, independent filmmakers, and film activists employed to comply with or circumvent these regulations.
Jessica Stites Mor is assistant professor of Latin American history at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan.
“[This] thorough inquiry into the role of film clubs, film collectives, government institutions, and cinema laws is innovative and interesting; the extensive filmography, selected bibliography, list of archival sources, periodicals, and film publications, will be extremely valuable to Latin American historians and film scholars wishing to delve further into a topic that has yet to yield many more in-depth analyses and critical reevaluations.”—Latin American Perspectives

"Jessica Stites Mor offers a welcome revision of Argentine political film of the last four decades that challenges classical approaches to both the history of Argentine cinema and the cinema of the Argentine transition….An original and insightful resource to both scholars and a general audience who wish to better understand the unique case of the revival of contemporary Argentine political film." —Canadian Journal of Latin American and Canadian Studies

“This well-researched analysis of the past 50 years of Argentine cinema is unique in its emphasis on documentary film as well as feature film . . . an eye-opening perspective on the recent history of one of the world’s most important film producers. Highly recommended.”—Choice

"Jessica Stites Mor persuasively argues that filmmakers, the film industry, and the intellectual and popular discourse surrounding film productions played a critical role in the gestation of collective memories and identity debates throughout Argentina's transition from dictatorship to democracy."—Bulletin of Latin American Research

“Detailed and engaging. . . . It is clear that Stites Mor has spent a number of years researching in Argentina. This offers her an ‘insider’s view’ that is evident on every page, as she deploys a range of primary resources, including difficult-to-trace documentaries, interviews with protagonists of the era, film and political journals and industrial archives. . . [a] work that synthesizes so much information in such an elegant form.” —Journal of Latin American Studies

“I find it fascinating how Stites Mor studies the regular independent Argentinian filmmaking (which started in the sixties with the name of New Argentinian cinema), including the eclosion of the cine piquetero and Argentina’s financial crisis. The author pays critical attention not only to traditional cinema but also to the new phenomenon of street filmmaking, which created a different kind of cinema.”—Jorge Ruffinelli, Stanford University

“This is an original and important contribution to Argentine cultural history. Stites Mor convincingly reveals the critical impact that filmmakers have made on collective memories, cultural politics, and identity debates in Argentina’s transition from dictatorship to democracy.”—Raanan Rein, Tel Aviv University

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Illuminations: Cultural Formations of the Americas Table of Contents
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In Transition Cinema, Jessica Stites Mor documents the critical role filmmakers, the film industry, and state regulators played in Argentina’s volatile and unfinished transition from dictatorship to democracy. She shows how, during periods of both military repression and civilian rule, the state moved to control political film production and its content, distribution, and exhibition. She also reveals the strategies that the industry, independent filmmakers, and film activists employed to comply with or circumvent these regulations. Stites Mor traces three distinct generations of transition cinema, each defined by a seminal event that shifted the political economy of national filmmaking. The first generation of filmmakers witnessed and participated in civil uprisings, such as the Cordobazo in 1969, and faced waves of repression, violence, and censorship. This generation gave rise to vibrant underground exhibitions and film clubs and eventually became symbolically linked to the Peronist Left and radical militancy. Following the 1983 return to civilian rule, a second generation of political filmmakers emerged at the center of public debates, when Buenos Aires became the locus for state-level cultural programs to address human rights and collective memory. Building on that legacy, a third generation of filmmakers explored new modes of activist and political filmmaking aided by digital technology. They pioneered new genres such as the street phenomenon of cine piquetero and introduced resistance politics and social movements into highly visible public spaces. In this captivating work, Stites Mor examines how social movements, political actors, filmmakers, and government and industry institutions, all became deeply enmeshed in the project of Argentina’s transition cinema. She demonstrates how film emerged as the chronicler of political struggles in a dialogue with the past, present, and future, whose message transcended both cultural and national borders.
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