Argentina Literature and Cinema

Literature. – To grasp the developments of Argentine literature in the new century, it is essential to take into consideration the historical-cultural context of the last thirty years of the twentieth century, that is to say the period of birth of the authors who began to publish after 2000: in those years the country was experiencing the horror of military dictatorship, the slow return to democracy and a series of economic crises culminating in the 2001 default. In this climate, young writers, who no longer feel the need to ‘kill their fathers’ (in primis, Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar) nor the older brothers (Tomás Eloy Martínez, Ricardo Piglia, Alan Pauls, Marcelo Cohen) rediscover realism rereading it (to the point of distorting it) with new eyes. The general tone is disenchanted, distant, ironic compared to that of the generation of the seventies and the new media influence literature both in relation to the diffusion of texts and to its production; the tones are often those of dirty realism (Washington Cucurto, Fabián Casas, Juan Diego Incardona, Juan Terranova), but there is no shortage of forays into the fantastic (Samanta Schweblin, Alejandra López) and authors who focus on an over-exposure of the body (Fernanda García Lao, Fernanda García Curten) especially in feminine and queer key. In recent years (probably thanks to the obligatory reflection promoted by the thirtieth anniversary of the beginning of the 1976 dictatorship), there has also been a revival of the genre of testimony, but, also in this case, reread by the children of desaparecidos and militants with a new sensitivity and new tools, such as in the works of Patricio Pron, Félix Bruzzone or Mariana Eva Pérez, who offers her testimony starting from a blog that has subsequently turned into a novel.

According to Liuxers, in poetry, after the post-adolescent pop atmospheres that had dominated the scene during the nineties with the group Belleza y Felicidad (Fernanda Laguna, Cecilia Pavón, Gabriela Bejerman, among others), together with more solitary and partly already established poetic voices (the aforementioned Casas and Cucurto, Sergio Raimondi, Martín Gambarotta, Silvio Mattoni, Marina Mariasch, Romina Freschi, Santiago Llach, Jimena Néspolo), stand out in the generation of the 2000s such as those of Gabriel Cortiñas (Casa de las Américas award, 2013), Martín Rodríguez, Paula Peyseré, Mariano Blatt, Francisco Garamona, Emiliano Bustos, Charly Gradin, Diego Vdovichenko.

Cinema. – For Argentine cinema the first decade of the 21st century. it was a period of normalization and stabilization of the trends that emerged in the previous decade, in particular of the most important, linked to a new generation of directors, internationally known under the name of New Argentine cinema. After the crisis of 2001, the recovery of the Argentine economy also passed through the reconfiguration and growth of the audiovisual and film industry, which proved to be one of the most flourishing industries in the country. If the cinema of the Nineties was characterized by a minimalist expressive style and a particular attention to marginal characters of society, capable however of becoming catalysts of the sense of loss of balance and existential uncertainty that characterized much of Argentine society, the production of the second half of the 2000s reveals a more articulated and differentiated cinematography.

Some of the authors who emerged in the previous decade continued their personal expressive research linked to the mutations in the relationship between the individual and the world, such as Pablo Trapero, who continued his investigation of bodies and characters who find themselves rethinking their existence once placed in extreme situations – Nacido y criado (2006), Leonera (2008), Carancho (2010), Elefante blanco (2012) -; or as Lucrecia Martel, who envelops her narratives in a metaphysical atmosphere, in which radical questions emerge about the meaning of existence and the choices of individuals – La niña santa (2004), La mujer sin cabeza (2010; La donna senza testa). One of the most radical Argentine filmmakers born film in the new millennium remains Lisandro Alonso who, in films such as Los muertos (2004), Fantasma (2006), Liverpool (2008) and Jauja (2014), has developed a personal path based on an austere language and rigorous, capable of building extreme and contemporary stories and characters. Together with these authorial proposals, a cinema has developed capable of intercepting the tastes of a wider audience and of renewing some of the most successful cinematographic genres, such as the political thriller (El secreto de sus ojos, 2009, The secret of his eyes, by Juan José Campanella; Wakolda, 2013, known by the title The German doctor – Wakolda, by Lucía Puenzo) or comedy, both in its melancholy line of which Daniel Burman is a specialist (El abrazo partido, 2004, El abrazo partido -L’abbraccio perduto ; Derecho de familia, 2006; El misterio de la felicidad, 2014), both in the form of grotesque comedy, as in Relatos salvajes (2014; Storie pazzesche) by Damián Szifrón. The documentary has had a particular impulse, which has been able to develop new expressive methods and has managed to tell through multiple gazes the transformations of contemporary society and the sometimes hidden history of the country – as in the personal cinema of Andrés Di Tella (El país del diablo, 2008; Hachazos, 2011) or in the experimental and visionary cinema of Martín Sola (El Mensajero, 2011; Hamdan, 2013). In this broad and articulated perspective, Argentine cinema continues to be (also as a production model) one of the reference points of Latin American cinema.

Argentina Literature