Latin American women in the circulation of avant – garde film: peripheries of the periphery?

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Ainamar Clariana–Rodagut


This presentation aims to analyse the fundamental role of two Latin American women in the circulation of the avant – garde film Un chien andalou (Buñuel 1929). To do so, I will retrace their transnational networks and discuss the idea of Latin America as a peripheral space and in the various histories of modernism. The focus on Latin American women is doubly rebellious since they have been considered as the “periphery” of the “periphery”. Indeed, Un chien andalou was world premiered in Paris on the 6th of June 1929 in Studio des Ursulines. After its success, the film started to circulate worldwide. The premieres of the film in the two Latin – American cinema industries first developed –Argentina (1929) and Mexico (1938) – , were arranged through the social networks of the Argentinean Victoria Ocampo (1890 – 1979) and the Mexican Lola Álvarez Bravo (1903 – 1993). This coincidence highlights the pioneering role of these women, located in the so – called peripheries, and their position of cultural mediators in the transnational circulation of the avant – garde. Thus, this paper will reply to the following questions: Which were the specificities of their social networks for allowing the transnational circulation of the avant – garde? And, how their peripheral location affected the way their social networks functioned? 

Within a digital humanities framework and the use of data mining, I will trace the circulation of Un chien andalou in Latin America and unearth the central role of these Latin American women, as well as show how their social networks were durable, wide and strong enough to facilitate the circulation of one of the most celebrated avant – garde films. From a broader perspective, this case study challenges our understanding of the double peripheral position of Latin American women in the global history of cinema. 

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Global Avant – gardes: Centre, Periphery and Beyond