Far from home? Functions of escapism and portrayal of the tropics in La Habanera (1937)
Author: Sandberg, Claudia
Source: Studies in European Cinema, Volume 6, Number 1, October 2009 , pp. 63-76(14)
Abstract:The Ministry of Propaganda was attracted by cinema's great potential to unite three distinct endeavours: employing cinema as entertainment, propaganda tool and economic commodity. In case of Detlef Sierck's La Habanera (1937), the blend of form and text promised great success as cinematography, storyline and selection of actors, made this film achieve all three of the above. Utilizing Northern European beliefs about the tropics, the film establishes an inauspicious picture about a culture characterized by unrestrained sexuality, a health damaging climate and archaic social customs. La Habanera employs these clichd perceptions for a National Socialist enlightenment process that makes use of and simultaneously criticizes Hollywood conventions. Staging the narrative of a female protagonist, this melodrama intends to attract female audiences, in particular. Women have to learn that abandoning ones home-(land) in favour of an illusion will be punished. An alternative way outside of their social position as wives and mothers does not exist.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Southampton.
Publication date: 2009-10-01
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