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Created during and between military coups, civil wars, authoritarian regimes, and invasions led by the United States, experimental cinema in Latin America has been impacted by diverse forms of social upheaval and violence. In many of these contexts, resistance or even social commentary can be a precarious, even dangerous, project. This program surveys some of these expressions. In the war-torn El Salvador of 1980, the collective Los Vagos shot Zona intertidal, a poetic treatment of the politically motivated assassination of a leftist professor by death squads. In Materia oscura Bruno Varela comments on the search for clues to the disappearance of forty-three students in southern Mexico. Paz Encina’s Tristezas is based on a story about a political prisoner; Beatriz Santiago Muñoz’s Post-Military Cinema was shot on a decommissioned military base in Puerto Rico. Zigmunt Cedinsky takes a satirical approach in La guerra sin fin (I’m very happy), while the Colombian filmmaker Camilo Restrepo’s Impresión de una guerra offers up an essayistic reflection on the lasting legacies of decades of violence in his homeland.

—Los Angeles Filmforum

Films in this program:

Zona intertidal

(Intertidal Zone)

Grupo Los Vagos, El Salvador, 1980

14 mins, Color, 16mm transferred to digital



Paz Encina, Paraguay, 2016

7 mins, Color, Digital

Materia oscura

(Dark Matter)

Bruno Varela, Mexico, 2016

Spanish with English subtitles

8 mins, B&W/Color, Digital

Post-Military Cinema

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Puerto Rico, 2014

11 mins, Color, Digital

La guerra sin fin (I’m very happy)

(The Unfinished War (I’m very happy))

Zigmunt Cedinsky, Venezuela, 2006

8 mins, Color, 35mm transferred to digital

Impresión de una guerra

Camilo Restrepo, Colombia/France, 2015

Spanish with English subtitles

26 mins, Color, 16mm transferred to digital

Introduction by Jesse Lerner, a documentary filmmaker, curator, and writer and the coeditor of Ism, Ism, Ism: Experimental Cinema in Latin America.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    5 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States