European co-production funds and Latin-American cinema: processes of othering and bourgeois cinephilia in Claudia Llosa’s La teta asustada

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    Abstract

    Over the last ten years, a substantial number of Latin American directors have made films that have been supported by European funding bodies; they that have been showcased in festivals around the world, and in some cases distributed internationally. These funds have brought women filmmakers from Latin America into the spotlight, and those who have benefitted from support with production (and in many cases post-production) include the Peruvian director Claudia Llosa, the Argentinean directors Lucía Puenzo, Lucrecia Martel and Celina Murga, the Paraguayan Paz Encina, the Chilean Dominga Sotomayor, and the Mexican Yulene Olaizola, among others. This creates the curious scenario whereby Europe is instrumental in co-creating a boom in Latin American women’s filmmaking, a scenario that raises a number of interesting questions and ties in with wider debates around European subsidies for ‘world cinema’. Is this a form of neo-colonial European intervention in the cultural production of less developed nations? Is Europe looking to the world to supply a stream of exotic imagery for its entertainment? Should European funding bodies be celebrated for enabling the production of important films that would either not be made, or would have much lower budgets, and a much less visible trajectory without them? These questions will be addressed through the specific case of one of the most high profile and controversial Latin American directors, Claudia Llosa, whose films have won awards on the international festival circuit while provoking disquiet among Peruvian and Latin Americanist critics for what some see as a Westernising and racist representations of poor Peruvians. I consider the key positions in the European funding of ‘world cinema’ debates, and then position a reading of La teta asustada/The Milk of Sorrow (2009) within these debates. I begin with a brief discussion of Llosa’s first film Madeinusa (2006), as this film initiated the controversies surrounding Llosa’s depiction of indigenous Peruvians. Do Llosa’s films confirm the critical positions by being subject to a process of othering for a European cinephile festival audience? Or, do they challenge neo-colonialist readings of European co-funded projects? What findings can be drawn through the focus on single film texts? I warn against generalising conclusions and contrast Llosa’s approach with that of Lucrecia Martel and Lucía Puenzo in particular through their diverse approach to representations of ethnicity and class.
    Translated title of the contributionEuropean co-production funds and Latin-American cinema: processes of othering and bourgeois cinephilia in Claudia Llosa’s La teta asustada
    Original languageFrench
    Pages (from-to)125-141
    Number of pages16
    JournalDiogène
    Volume245
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

    Keywords

    • European co-production funds
    • Latin American cinema
    • Claudia Llosa

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