What do we talk about when we talk about Latin American cinema within the borders of the United States? Discussions of cinema from the region remain limited to the means of production: which films are produced and financed; how local filmmakers secure the money and access to make the films that then get tied to any given country's national cinema; the aesthetic and cultural movements that these films engender and replicate. But what of the distribution templates that circumscribe the kind of films and filmmakers that can make it to the United States, and under which circumstances? Looking at examples of film programming and distribution that are actively circumventing the established arthouse-release model that has become the de facto way of releasing Latin American cinema in the U.S., this article points to new efforts at defining cinemas of the region outside the bounds of an increasingly obsolete system.
Whose Latin American Cinema?
Manuel Betancourt is a film critic and cultural reporter in New York City. His academic work on queer film fandom has appeared in Genre and GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, while his cultural criticism has been featured in Film Comment, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is a regular contributor to the website Remezcla, where he covers Latin American cinema and U.S. Latino media culture.
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Manuel Betancourt; Whose Latin American Cinema?. Film Quarterly 1 December 2016; 70 (2): 9–16. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2016.70.2.9
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