Comedy as a popular genre has received little serious attention in general Latin American film histories. If social anthropologist Ernest Gellner and Angel Rama both understand national culture as politically willed by a privileged cadre of citizens who identify a well-defined, educationally sanctioned, unified culture, then popular culture, in general, and comedy, in particular, are often excluded from national cultures (Gellner, 55; Rama, 19). Film studies literature that examines the “commercial prehistory” of New Latin American Cinema recovers popular texts that have been excluded from earlier national canons; however, this literature often privileges the melodrama and its cast of international female stars (King, 2). The limited discussion of comedy is often articulated to what Mexican cultural critic Carlos Monsiváis calls the socializing function of cinema (Monsiváis, 149). In order to consider comedy as comedy and not as an inadequate realism or a derivation of melodrama, I engage with a general study of comedy as a broader cultural form with a long-standing history—in tension with, and transformed by, realism. Much like Linda Williams’s revision of melodrama, this project requires less a semantic decoding than an exploration of the bodily effects of the genre (“Revised,” 42). In other words, I discuss the comedic films not in terms of representation, but rather, in terms of embodiment.
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- Luis Sandrini’s Stutter, Early Argentine Film Comedy, and the Representability of Time
Nilo Fernando Couret
- Palgrave Macmillan US
- Chapter 1