While Bong Joon-ho's Parasite is the most well-known recent example of the home-invasion thriller, Latin American cinema has produced a number of other films—many made before Bong's Oscar-winning film premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival—using similar settings to create urgent stories about economic inequality. Emerging during a period of political and economic instability, these films present the luxury home as a stand in for an antiseptic capitalist order and a dulled bourgeois complacency, providing its occupants with a sense of safety and comfort that is as arbitrary as it is illusory. These films may focus on the rift between economic classes, but they are equally driven by a desire to unravel and dismantle the systems that put the working class at the mercy of moneyed homeowners. FQ columnist Manuel Betancourt examines these trends in relation to two recent films: Mexico's Mano de obra (Workforce, 2019, dir. David Zonana) and Argentina's Marea alta (High Tide, 2020, dir. Verónica Chen).
Cineando: The Master's House: Latin American Cinema's New Class-Warfare Genre
Manuel Betancourt is a film critic and a cultural writer. He is the film columnist at Electric Literature and a regular contributor to Remezcla. His academic work on queer film fandom has appeared in Genre and GLQ, while his cultural criticism has been featured in Film Comment, The Atlantic, NPR, Pacific Standard, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. He is one of the writers of the Eisner Award-nominated graphic novel The Cardboard Kingdom (Knopf, 2018) and the author of Judy at Carnegie Hall (Bloomsbury, 2020), a 33 1/3 book on the 1961 Grammy award-winning double album. www.mbetancourt.com
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Manuel Betancourt; Cineando: The Master's House: Latin American Cinema's New Class-Warfare Genre. Film Quarterly 1 September 2020; 74 (1): 80–83. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2020.74.1.80
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