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Fede Álvarez and the impossibility of Uruguayan Cinema

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This article argues that the career of film director Fede Álvarez suggests the ‘impossibility’ of Uruguayan cinema: his relative success as a Hollywood film-maker could not be achieved were he to make films in Uruguay. Furthermore, I shall suggest that this ‘impossibility’ was already present in the short film that allowed Álvarez to progress from Montevideo to Los Angeles, namely ¡Ataque de pánico!/Panic Attack! (2009), which sees aliens attack and destroy Uruguay’s capital. I shall subsequently argue that Álvarez emblematizes how Uruguay ‘disappears’ from cinema screens in various ways, including as a result of the shape of the Uruguayan film industry and the size of the nation itself, while also suggesting that in the story of ¡Ataque de pánico!, this disappearance happens quite literally. This disappearance is linked to globalization, technology and the ongoing economic dependency of the global south on the global north, and as is reflected in Álvarez’s transition to Hollywood itself. In other words, Uruguay disappears from cinema screens in the same way that Uruguay disappears historically. This is demonstrated especially by the way in which a very ‘cinematic’ special effects film like ¡Ataque de pánico! circulates primarily not in cinemas but online. Cinema is in this way alien to Uruguay as Uruguay is alien to cinema – with ¡Ataque de pánico! thereby constituting a form of non-cinema.
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Keywords: Evil Dead (2013); Hollywood; YouTube; global film industry; global south; globalization; online film circulation; ¡Ataque de pánico!/Panic Attack! (2009)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Roehampton

Publication date: March 1, 2019

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