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Public health warning concerning the Peruvian cinema flu

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Some of the most vibrant and polemic discussions in the early twenty-first century concerning cinema on a local level happen in cyberspace. With little editorial boundary, opinions on the Internet concerning cinema come quickly and passionately, privileging the robust immediacy of a particular moment in cinema. We would be remiss to not document such an account in these pages. The context for this humorous take on the contemporary context on 'Peruvian cinema' dovetails growing concern over the spread of the H1N1 virus (dubbed with the national term 'Mexican swine flu') with a furious cultural debate over the local release of Chicho Durant's 2009 film El premio/The Prize. As one of the first major Peruvian features released on native soil after the Oscar-nominated attention generated by the release of Claudia Llosa's La teta asustada/The Milk of Sorrow (2009), the film was met with a sizeable audience and relatively positive reviews. Alfonso Izaguirre, critic at the newspaper Perú.21, published a scathing review, which prompted a letter to the editor signed by eighteen Peruvian film-makers, including directors Augusto Tamayo, Francisco Lombardi, Álvaro Velarde, Fabrizio Aguilar and Aldo Salvini, coming to Durant's defence in the name of locally produced cinema. This, in turn, prompted an equally strong (and unusually unified) response by the Peruvian film critic community, across several prominent blogs, including Ricardo Bedoya's Páginas del diario de Satán/Pages from Satan's Diary and the group blog 'La cinefilia no es patriota' (Cinephilia Is Not Patrotism). The most prominent film blog, which serves as an aggregator for all film cybertraffic in Peru, is called Cinencuentro (Cinencounter), where critic Juan José Beteta often writes thoughtful essays about Peruvian film.
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Keywords: Peruvian cinema; film blogs; film criticism; humour; national cinema

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: American University

Publication date: November 1, 2012

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