July 16, 2008

an alternative strategy for state–funded film production

It struck me earlier this week that, from door to door, travelling to the cinema in London takes just a little longer than travelling to Gracie Barra in Birmingham.  So right now I'm taking the BFI's 'Japanese Gems' season as an opportunity to see my first ever Kurosawa films. 

On the train yesterday, towards a screening of Rashomon (aces), I was reading an article by Luisela Alvaray from the latest Cinema Journal about the institutional structures of contemporary Latin American cinema ('National, Regional, and Global: New Waves of Latin American Cinema' Cinema Journal 47:3 Spring 2008 pp48-65).  She describes her area of research as "the interactions and exchanges that, since 1990, have enabled the development of a continuously expanding corpus of Latin American films." (49). 

This fact however struck me as unbelievably odd:

Many of the films sponsored by Brazilian EMBRAFILME and Mexican IMCINE in the 1980s manifested a qualitative, rather than a quantitative, crisis.  Along with a few critically acclaimed films, hard-core porn dominated Brazilian national production, while formulaic and mediocre comedies populated Mexican screens. (51, my emphasis)

It's possible that the author is exaggerating by using the term 'hard-core porn' but, if she is not, what type of jokers were running the state-funded EMBRAFILME in the 1980s?!?  It's ridiculous and hilarious.

In general though, Alvaray's excellent article is filled with facts and figures that I wish I had access to (or discovered myself) when I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on the topic back in 2005.  It perhaps would have help me avoid some of the statements and formulations in there that, when I think back, feel extremely naive.




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