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Rupture and reparation: Postmemory, the child seer and graphic violence in Infancia clandestina (Benjamín Ávila, 2012)

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Although films representing violence through a child’s eyes have become increasingly commonplace in Latin American cinema of the last three decades, this article proposes that Bejamín Ávila’s 2012 Infancia clandestina provides an innovative approach. The film emphasizes ruptures – aesthetic, thematic and spectatorial – as well as gestures towards their repair in an attempt to represent the child’s perspective and engage the viewer in approaching the nation’s violent past. These forms of rupture and reparation, along with oscillations between identification with and distance from the protagonist’s perspective, draw attention not only to the complexities of representing the child’s subjective viewpoint but also of representing the violence of state repression. After examining the film’s treatment of postmemorial generational rupture, the article explores the mechanisms by which the film aligns the viewer with the perspective of its child protagonist while refusing complete identification with his subject position. Finally, it demonstrates how the child’s perspective of violence is cast as unique – underscoring his difference and questioning the possibility of representing ‘realistically’ the violence of the Dirty War years.
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Keywords: Benjamín Ávila; Infancia clandestina; child in film; dirty war; postmemory; subjectivity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Brown University

Publication date: September 1, 2015

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