Tuesday, November 01, 2005


What, if anything, unites Hollywood movies that portray Latin America? Is there some shared element beyond the contingent commonality of theme? Hollywood's Latin movies don't constitute a genre--they follow many different generic conventions. But perhaps they make up a mood, a style?

DeeDee Halleck suggests that there is one over-riding narrative to these stories set south of the border. By contrast, what's most striking is the variety of excuses or reasons for invoking latinidad. Latins can play (or be played as) sexy lovers, tragic heroes, ridiculous clowns, noble savages... their "expressive faces" are multivalent.

Is this one possible key: that there is some resonance between Latin America and the movie industry. Both are defined by the self-reflexivity and variability of their performative affect. It is in its (re)production of the Latin that Hollywood sees its chance to incarnate, make real, the other; to think through an other's body.

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