BOOK DATA Juan Sebastián Ospina León, Struggles for Recognition: Melodrama and Visibility in Latin American Silent Film. University of California Press, 2021. $85 hardcover; $34.95 paper; $ 34.95 e-book. 266 pages.

Juan Sebastián Ospina León’s Struggles for Recognition: Melodrama and Visibility in Latin American Silent Cinema historicizes Latin American silent cinema by tracing film melodrama’s northbound journey from Buenos Aires to Los Angeles. Echoing Linda Williams’s influential reading of melodrama as “the fundamental mode” of popular American cinema, Ospina León makes a case for melodrama as the “dominant mode” that made visible the experiences of modernity in early-twentieth-century Latin America. The melodramatic mode’s notoriously protean nature—what Christine Gledhill calls its “historical genericity”—enables the book’s ambitious comparative study of Argentine, Colombian, and Mexican cinema that is both rooted in archival research and attentive to close textual analysis. Struggles for Recognition adopts a comparative approach to film history that is sensitive...

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