Film Analysis and Contemporary Mexican Narrative: A Theoretical Approach to a Reflexive Point of View

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Zavala, Lauro

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The object of these notes is to demonstrate how a film such as Danzon (Mexico, 1992) by Maria Novaro proposes a system of glances (between characters as well as between the spectator and the screen) that involves the spectator in the construction of a space in which it is possible to establish a genuine dialogue between men and women far beyond the moment of watching the film. It is, naturally, a dialogue that might as well go beyond the aesthetic and ideologic conventions that have produced so far unnecessarily antagonic visions of the world. The film Danzon is one of the few which has been able to reach such a radical proposal at the same time than inviting the spectators to participate in the same play of glances that has been dominant in cinema history. This is so precisely because of this film’s paradoxical and metafictional nature. Nevertheless, it is necessary to point out that the metafictional nature of this film is not narrative or structural, but strictly audiovisual. It is an example of what might be called a system of audiovisual metafiction, which is based on the process of laying bare the audiovisual conventions of traditional cinema, and at once using these conventions whenever the story requires them. In short, I will take Danzon as an example of the possibility, all the more frequent in contemporary cinema, of laying bare the conventions that make possible film fiction, and most particularly the conventions related to the placing and displacements of the camera. This is what I call a reflexive point of view in this film.


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