Fede Álvarez and the impossibility of Uruguayan Cinema
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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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Roehampton
Publication date: March 1, 2019
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- In 2013, Studies in Hispanic Cinemas, is changing its name to Studies in Spanish & Latin American Cinemas to reflect more accurately its content, which is dedicated to the study of Spanish-speaking and Latin American cinemas, including the cinemas of Spain and Spanish-speaking South, Central and North America including the Caribbean, as well as Brazil.
Our target readership includes students, teachers and scholars. The journal is written in English to maximize the opportunities for contact between academic disciplines such as Media, Film Studies, Latin American and Post-colonial Studies, as well as Hispanic Studies, thereby encouraging an inter-cultural and inter-disciplinary focus.
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