Gender Politics, Sexuality, Class and Race in Lucrecia Martel’s La Ciénaga (2001)

By Anna M. Hillman.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Martel’s first feature film La Ciénaga/The Swamp caused controversy in Argentina. However, the film brought her wide international attention and critical acclaim. According to Falicov, she has been singled out as the most original voice amongst the New Independent Argentine cinema directors (the mid 1990s Argentine filmmakers’ generation of filmmakers, such as Pablo Trapero and Adrián Caetano). In an unusually confident for a debut film manner Martel employs gender and sexuality as a means to tackle numerous issues - from machismo to class and race. I shall argue that through her focus on family and domesticity Martel has exposed numerous forms of oppression not only against but also among women in Argentina and, by extension, in Latin America as a whole. As claimed by Stam and Shoat, gender and sexuality prove difficult to separate from issues of identity, class and race in Latin American film. I claim that in the hands of Martel this has been turned into an advantage. La Cienaga tells stories of oppression and identity fragmentations as they have never been told before. In her quirky, uncanny cinematic style Martel unveils hidden forms of marginalisation and mounting tensions, creating an atmosphere of impending tragedy that could be seen as allegory of the political and economic devastation of Argentina.

Keywords: Representing Gender

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp.157-168. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.222MB).

Anna M. Hillman

School of Languages, Linguistics and Film, Queen Mary, University of London, London, UK

Ph D candidate in Film Studies, Queen Mary, University of London. Conducting a study of Cuban and Soviet/early post-Soviet film, 1960-2000. Its main focus is on representing transition, the contradicting effects of globalisation, and other related issues. I have lectured on Cuban film, at Queen Mary, and on Latin American film, at Goldsmiths College, University of London. This has widened my experience, knowledge and interests. Previously, I have published on Cuban film, in: Lugares dos discursos, 2006 X Congresso Internacional ABRALIC, Brazil; Reflections: New Directions in Modern Languages and Cultures, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008, UK; Vivat Academia, Issue 106, 2009, Spain.

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