In search of images : Uruguayan cinema, 1960-2010
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This thesis investigates fifty years of Uruguayan cinema in order to revisit the relationship between cinema and nation, at a time in which transnational flows are putting into question the concept of nation and, more precisely, that of national cinema. This investigation also contributes to current discussions on the changing nature of cinema, generated by the fast adoption of digital technology and the imminent disappearance of film stock. Through the case of Uruguay, I explore the construction of national identity not only through the text, but also through the – filmic, digital and/or analogue – materiality of film. This approach incorporates aspects which are not usually studied together to contribute to the analysis of Uruguayan cinema in a manner potentially applicable to other nations with similar characteristics; that is to say, nations without an established film heritage and filmmaking tradition. Informed by writings on film, cultural, historical and archival studies, this thesis approaches films as ‘hybrid’ rather than ‘pure’ or ‘authentic’ texts and media. I argue that both the text and materiality of films absorb, influence and reflect the dynamic processes involved in the construction of national identity. Rather than seeking for authenticity and homogeneity, this thesis stresses the necessity to focus on discontinuity and diversity. Therefore, it analyses lost and under-researched short, documentary, animation and institutional films and videos, alongside feature fiction films. First, I present a theoretical discussion on the relationship between nation and cinema, the concept of hybridity in film studies, and the importance of technology for production, preservation and access. This is followed by four chronological chapters in which the hybrid text and materiality of films are analysed in contexts of social and political upheaval; dictatorship, resistance and exile; transition; and neo-liberalism and globalisation. This thesis demonstrates that the ties between cinema and nation have not necessarily loosened in the global and digital age, and still deserve critical attention.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2024-12-18
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 18th December 2024
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