Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Kathleen E. Newman
This study considers the films and writings of Jorge Sanjinés, an influential Latin American filmmaker and theorist known for the collaborative methods of filmmaking he and the Grupo Ukamau created working with indigenous Andean communities, in light of two interrelated but overlooked aspects of his theory and practice: the extent to which his theories intervened in European debates about politics and cinema during the period 1966-1989 (the release dates for his first and last significant features) and his experiments using cinematic form to create a language capable of communicating an alternative, non-western subjectivity.
After reviewing the history of the Grupo Ukamau, including its most significant Bolivian precursors, Jorge Ruiz, Oscar Soria, and the Insituto Cinematográfico Boliviano, as well as the group's theories of spectatorship, form in revolutionary cinema, and the practice of making a cinema with the people, this dissertation turns to three topics key to understanding Sanjinés in a properly transnational context: the importance of Bertolt Brecht's theories for Sanjinés, the sequence shot as the basis for his new cinematic language, and political parallels with other European filmmakers.
Like several European political filmmakers of the period who experimented with rhetorical and non-realistic uses of the sequence shot, Sanjinés was more inspired by Brecht's theory of Epic Theater than Italian Neo-realism. Sanjinés adapted these techniques both to communicate with his local indigenous audiences and intervene in European theory, a process described here as dialectical transculturation. To create what he called the "Andean sequence shot," Sanjinés adapted Jean-Luc Godard's dialectical editing of long takes, Miklós Jancsó's portrayals of collective protagonists, and Theo Angelopoulos' use of multiple temporalities within a single shot. The final section explores the parallels among Sanjinés' theory and practice and those of Pier Paolo Pasolini and Jean Rouch, two European filmmakers contemporaneously engaged in theorizing the representation of alternative subjectivities, at that time a marginal concern in Europe. The affinities between these three filmmakers' theories as well as Sanjinés contribution to European theorizing of cinematic subjectivity have been obscured, it is argued, by the politics of the period.
Copyright 2009 Dennis Joseph Hanlon