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6070 - Cine de (In)Migración: documentales europeos de la inmigración latinoamericana

An increasing number of films focus on the current phenomena of immigration and xenophobia. I use the term “(im)migration cinema” to describe a varied corpus of films representing contemporary immigration from the global South to the North. I define it according to subject matter and ideological orientation in spite of the accountable differences among the countries’ cinematographic industries, and as a subcategory of “world cinema” and “third cinema,” treated in relation to notions such as hybridity, transculturation, border crossing, transnationalism and translation. My conception of “(im)migration cinema” resists categorization within Film Studies’ established and canonical categories of production and reception, which are based on notions of authorship or national identity.

Within this framework, I propose to analyze three European (in)migration documentaries that focus on the migration of Latin American subjects to the United States and the European Union: Balseros (2002) by Carles Bosch and Josep María Domenech (Spain); From the Other Side (2002) by Chantal Ackerman (Belgium); and Familia (2010) by Alberto Herskovitz and Michael Wiström (Sweden). The purpose of my essay is to identify common narrative and visual patterns of representation of the migration processes, mainly, the cinematographic techniques (both realist and experimental) used to underscore the mediation role of the cinematic process to potentially raise spectatorial social awareness and ethical commitment. The three films diverge from other (im)migration documentaries made in Europe and the United States which typically focus on the immigrants’ experiences in the receiving country and produce representations of Otherness that are in many cases less about the immigrants than they are about crises in national identities and how they are articulated both publicly and privately.

Keywords: Migration, Cinema, Documentary, Spectatorship, Transculturation

Author: Ballesteros, Isolina (Baruch College, CUNY, Ud States of Am / USA)

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