Forced to slow down by the COVID-19 pandemic, Film Quarterly columnist Manuel Betancourt found himself drawn to films that embraced stillness. Marking a refreshing change from the urban settings that dominate much Latin American cinema, Los silencios (Beatriz Seigner, 2018), Selva trágica (Tragic Jungle, Yulene Olaizola, 2020), and Ceniza negra (Land of Ashes, Sofía Quirós Úbeda, 2019) are set in jungle and rural landscapes complete with lush, dreamy soundscapes. Privileging mood over plot, these films revel in their sense of being unmoored from familiar locales, becoming portals that open onto a different way of looking at the world.
The Natural Order of Things
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; The Natural Order of Things. Film Quarterly 1 June 2021; 74 (4): 68–71. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2021.74.4.68
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