Captive Subjects: The Figure of the Child in Contemporary Argentine Cinema Open Access

Navarro, Sandra Vanesa (2013)

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Captive Subjects examines the figure of the child in contemporary Argentine cinema. I contend that the child figure circulating in Argentine film today projects the aesthetic, social, and political climate of the country, as well as changing notions of childhood. The first chapter of this project focuses on the relationship between children and divisive history in the films Cautiva/Captive, Cordero de dios/Lamb of God and Kamchatka. Through an analysis of artifacts and characteristics associated with both history and children's culture in the films, this chapter provides a reading of how the notion of inheritance has become one of the lasting preoccupations in Argentine culture in relation to the dictatorial period.

The second chapter of the project analyzes the documentaries Los rubios/ The Blondes and Papá Iván. I argue that these films interrogate the fragmentation of memory through the use of artifacts and themes generally associated with childhood. This chapter specifically analyzes the modes of representation utilized by the directors in order to highlight the ways in which they problematize the notion of complete and verifiable personal histories.

The third group of films, taken up in the third chapter of my project, represents the aftermath of the Dirty War and the subsequent economic collapse of 2001. The films La ciénaga/The Swamp, La hora de la siesta/Nap Time, and La rabia/Anger present the child as the unknowing heir of a violent and/or stagnant social landscape. I contend that these films depict children in both implicitly and explicitly precarious situations, thereby underscoring the ineffectiveness of national and familial institutions.

The final chapter of the dissertation focuses on the films, minis/Gemini, La niña santa/The Holy Girl, and XXY and traces how they employ child figures with non-normative desires and sexualities as narrative devices. The chapter also relates the deviation from normative representations of children and sexuality to larger critiques about the failure of traditional institutions and anxieties regarding the future within the Argentine context.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1

The Child (Dis)appears: History and Play in Argentine Film 20

Chapter 2

Evoking the Child: Mourning and Memory in Documentary Film 64

Chapter 3

The Empty Child: Bodies in Evidence 95

Chapter 4

The Illegible Child: Sexuality and Desire in Contemporary Argentine Film 143

Conclusion 190

Bibliography 198

References 231

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