Fellow 2016-17

Eduardo Ledesma

Spanish & Portuguese

Ledesma image
Frame from pneurosis (2001), an experimental film by Daniela Cugliandolo, a Hispano-Argentine filmmaker who works with analog Super 8 technology and digital postproduction to question media and national boundaries.

Cinemas of Marginality: Experimental, Avant-Garde, and Documentary Film in Ibero-America

Nontheatrical film. Documentary film. Experimental film. Orphan cinema. Amateur film. Home movies. Expanded cinema. Small-gauge cinema. Paracinema. Super-8. Online videos. These are all varieties of noncommercial cinema that shun Hollywood spectacle-driven aesthetics, seeking instead to engage more critically with the formal and structural parameters of the film medium. Yet, far from restricting themselves to form, these cinemas often also delve into social, political, and ideological concerns, especially when they originate from the margins or peripheries of so-called First World nations. This book project, situated within Latin American and Iberian Film Studies, examines debates about contestatory form and politics in avant-garde, experimental, and documentary film in Latin America and Spain. It does not seek to provide a comprehensive overview of alternative film practices, but rather to focus on a set of films and filmmakers that have transgressed both geographical and aesthetic boundaries, sharing strategies and styles across the Atlantic in their efforts to create counter-cinemas.

Salient themes explored in the book include: formal strategies deployed by militant filmmaking under dictatorial regimes; experimental filmmaking and intermedial practices; relations between experimental and mainstream cinema; and changing conditions of reception as films are screened in non-traditional venues such as art galleries, museums, and building surfaces, and are archived online in sites such as Vimeo and YouTube. In addition to topics of mobility, migration, immigration, and borders, the book studies the complex circulation of films and filmmakers within Latin America and across the Atlantic to/from the Iberian Peninsula. Already underway, this book will become Professor Ledesma’s primary research focus for the next two years, with a planned completion date of September 2017. Cinemas of Marginality addresses important transatlantic and transnational connections in noncommercial cinema from Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, and Spain, focusing on the last fifty years of filmmaking, from the 1960s until today.