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5424 - Post-Mexican Cinema: The films of Carlos Reygadas

In response to the contemporary resurgence of art cinema practices among filmmakers working in different national contexts such as Taiwan, Iran, Thailand, China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Mexico, recent scholarship reconsiders the aesthetic, economic, and geo-cultural assumptions that film theorists have traditionally made about the institutional and formal parameters of this film category. Given the global breadth of these practices, we must reconsider the relationship of art cinema to the concepts of the nation, of national cinema, and local and global audiences. My paper focuses on the feature films of Mexican director, Carlos Reygadas—Japón (2001), Battle in Heaven (2005), and Silent Light (2007), that have repeatedly compared to the post-war modernist cinema of Robert Bresson, Roberto Rossellini, and Andrei Tarkovsky. I interrogate the similarities and differences that shape Reygadas’ films by paying particular attention to aspects of the film that are unfamiliar to those globally mobile citizens of the world whose competency may allow them to analyze the modernist conventions of the films but who lack the ability to make sense of cultural and local references. Despite the noted affinity of Reygadas’ films with art cinema, the films also call attention to another tradition through its inclusion of themes and iconography associated with an eighty-year history of Mexican filmmaking.

Keywords: Mexican cinema, Carlos Reygadas, art cinema, post-nationalism

Author: Hershfield, Joanne (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ud States of Am / USA)

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