Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Queer Issues in Contemporary Latin American Cinema

Queer Issues in Contemporary Latin American Cinema

  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Queer Issues in Contemporary Latin American Cinema
    Book Description:

    Viewing contemporary Latin American films through the lens of queer studies reveals that many filmmakers are exploring issues of gender identity and sexual difference, as well as the homophobia that attempts to defeat any challenge to the heterosexual norms of patriarchal culture. In this study of queer issues in Latin American cinema, David William Foster offers highly perceptive queer readings of fourteen key films to demonstrate how these cultural products promote the principles of an antiheterosexist stance while they simultaneously disclose how homophobia enforces the norms of heterosexuality.

    Foster examines each film in terms of the ideology of its narrative discourse, whether homoerotic desire or a critique of patriarchal heterosexism and its implications for Latin American social life and human rights. His analyses underscore the difficulties involved in constructing a coherent and convincing treatment of the complex issues involved in critiquing the patriarchy from perspectives associated with queer studies. The book will be essential reading for everyone working in queer studies and film studies.

    The films discussed in this book are:

    De eso no se habla(I Don't Want to Talk about It)El lugar sin límites(The Place without Limits)Aqueles dois(Those Two)Convivencia(Living Together)Conducta impropia(Improper Conduct)The Disappearance of García LorcaLa Virgen de los Sicarios(Our Lady of the Assassins)Doña Herlinda y su hijo(Doña Herlinda and Her Son)No se lo digas a nadie(Don't Tell Anyone)En el paraíso no existe el dolor(There Is No Suffering in Paradise)A intrusa(The Interloper)Plata quemada(Burnt Money)Afrodita(Aphrodite)Fresa y chocolate(Strawberry and Chocolate)

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79869-4
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xxii)
  4. Introit: Queer Difference
    (pp. 1-18)

    Approximately ten minutes into María Luisa Bemberg’sDe eso no se habla(1993), Leonor, the mother of the central character, Charlotte, awakens the boy who runs errands and helps out in the general store she owns and orders him to hitch her sulky, and she rides out into the countryside. There, ax in hand, Leonor approaches the home where she knows the parish priest is spending the night, asleep in the arms of his foreign Protestant concubine. She then proceeds methodically to smash the kitschy statues of dwarves that decorate the top of the wall marking the perimeter of the...

  5. Homosexuality: In and Out of the Closet
    (pp. 19-49)

    It is a generally accepted principle in queer studies that no adequate definition of heterosexuality would be possible without the category of the “homosexual” (Dollimore; Katz). In conformance with basic principles of semiotics, no sign can exist without defining what it is not, and what it is not is as important as what it is. In the distinctive feature analysis that is crucial to semiotics, the interplay of negative and positive valences is what conforms the unique unit that is any specific sign. In semiotics, no one sign is dominant, and all are held together in a structure by the...

  6. Political Intersections
    (pp. 50-84)

    Released in 1984, Néstor Almendros and Orlando Jiménez-Leal’sConducta impropia¹ (I will use the title with which it is known in the Spanish-speaking world and among Hispanic scholars) was one of the first major international documents to protest human rights abuses in Castro’s Cuba, which along with the issue of Cuban political prisoners is an extremely touchy and tendentious subject (two reliable albeit outdated sources are Amnesty International and Timerman). There had, of course, been a steady stream of attacks from various right-wing sources, including, obviously, the hundreds of thousands of Cubans who had left the island and in a large...

  7. Forging Queer Spaces
    (pp. 85-126)

    One long final sequence occurs in Jaime Humberto Hermosillo’s 1985 film,Doña Herlinda y su hijo(Doña Herlinda and Her Son).¹ The sequence ends with the baptism of the infant child of the main character, Rodolfo. Surrounded by his loving wife, adoring mother, and closest friends, Rodolfo presents his son to the world to the strains of a saccharine song in praise of motherhood. As she has done throughout the film, Rodolfo’s mother, Doña Herlinda, presides with a look of serene triumph, confident that she has successfully fulfilled her maternal role of overseeing the reproduction of society. This serenely triumphant...

  8. Queer Transcendence
    (pp. 127-162)

    There is a moment, about a half-hour into Marcelo Piñeyro’sPlata quemada(2000, based on Ricardo Piglia’s 1997 novel of the same name), of really quite purely tragic dimensions. I use the word “tragic” advisedly, not in its overused sense of “pathetic” or “unfortunate,” nor to capture the inevitable violence and death that stalk all human existence. Rather, I use it in the sense of classical Greek drama to capture that instant in which the individual defies if not the unforgiving gods, the inflexible rules that govern the harsh realities of social life. If surviving means learning those rules and...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 163-170)
  10. References
    (pp. 171-180)
  11. Index
    (pp. 181-186)