Argentines often use the term “antipodes” to describe East Asia as Argentina’s geographical and cultural opposite. Within this antipodal imaginary, Asia and its people often figure in stereotypical, mythical, or unfamiliar terms. Recently, however, there has been a surge of Argentine documentary films about Koreans and Korean immigration to Argentina. Why are so many Argentine documentaries turning to these subjects and why now? This essay focuses on two films—La chica del sur (José Luis García, 2012) and Una canción coreana (Yael Tujsanider and Gustavo Tarrío, 2014)—to understand this new interest. It analyzes the films within the layered contexts from which they emerge: a post-crisis Argentina after the economic meltdown of 2001, the surge of documentary filmmaking as a response to this crisis, and the subjective/reflexive turn of documentary films. The essay argues that the films’ initial approach to their Orientalized subjects enables an exercise of reflexivity which, ultimately, moves filmmakers and audiences beyond reflexivity toward affective, antipodal connections.
Antipodal Connections: Two Argentine Documentaries and Their Korean Women Subjects
Chisu Teresa Ko is Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies Coordinator at Ursinus College. She has been named a 2020 ACLS Fellow and is working on her book project, Argentina: Race in a Raceless Nation.
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Chisu Teresa Ko; Antipodal Connections: Two Argentine Documentaries and Their Korean Women Subjects. Film Quarterly 1 June 2021; 74 (4): 19–30. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2021.74.4.19
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