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2686 - Uruguay is ¿Anywhere¿: Control Z Films, the erasure of the national and the importance of the festival circuit for New Uruguayan Cinema.

New Uruguayan Cinema began to emerge in the 1980s, shortly after military rule, but only received international recognition in the 2000s. By this point Uruguay’s second generation of filmmakers was enjoying the international limelight, with Control Z Films’ Whisky winning the FIPRESCI prize at Cannes in 2004. Thus this paper explores cinematic depictions of Uruguay after the 2000s, focusing on the impact of international markets on depictions of the nation – as place or non-place – in both domestic and international productions. Control Z’s Gigante (2009) provides the focus for this exploration of depictions of nation in a transnational age.

International productions filmed on location in Uruguay, such as Miami Vice (2006), XXY (2007), and Blindness (2008) deploy Uruguayan locations as anonymous backdrops to the action, deliberately stripping them of any identifiable landmarks. Uruguay either provides a cheap location that can be used to stand in for any number of other places (e.g. Miami, Cuba, and Geneva in Miami Vice ), or for stories supposedly taking place in a non-specific “anywhere” ( XXY, Blindness ).

For Uruguayan filmmakers, however, erasing the nationally specific is a tactic to enable a competitive edge on the festival circuit. Control Z’s Whisky and Gigante appear as “universal” films that could be taking place in any number of locations worldwide. Unlike the international productions that background Uruguay’s distinctive identity, however, here the extremely minimal state funding available and the need to attract international coproduction partners is clearly influencing the cinematic depiction of the nation. Thus a comparison of the similar aesthetic approach to location in these contrasting international and national productions enables an exploration of the transnational politics of film production and circulation, and the impact of the global market on depictions of nation.

Keywords: Uruguayan cinema, Transnational funding and distribution, Film festivals, Location shooting, Control Z Films

Author: Montanez, Maria Soledad (University of Stirling, United Kingdom/Ver Königr)
Co-Author: Martin-Jones, David (University of St Andrews, St Andrews, United Kingdom/Ver Königr)

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