Journal of Romance Studies

Of hideouts and heterotopias

Children, violence, and the safe house in contemporary Argentine film

Journal of Romance Studies (2018), 18, (2), 181–203.

Abstract

Marcelo Piñeyro’s Kamchatka (2002) and Benjamín Ávila’s Infancia clandestina (2011) are important examples of the recent cultural turn towards child protagonists in cinematic representations of Argentina’s last military dictatorship. Both films reflect, to different extents, an emergent tendency to invest child protagonists with an increasing degree of narrative agency as they negotiate the dangers of clandestine life from within their safe houses. This article will argue, drawing on the work of Michel Foucault, that the liminality of the domestic spaces in these films reflects the similarly ‘heterotopic’ nature of childhood itself. By focusing on the distinctions between the two films’ representations of children’s interactions with and within the safe house, this study will emphasize the intergenerational tension that these films express through the presentation of a domestic sphere that has lost its security and stability, and instead become a heterotopian space of transience, vulnerability, and crisis.

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Aguilar, Gonzalo (2013) ‘ Infancia clandestineor the will of faith’, Journal of Romance Studies 13.3: 17–31. ‘ Infancia clandestinaor the will of faith’ Journal of Romance Studies 13 17 31 Google Scholar

Alcoba, Laura (2008) La casa de los conejos (Buenos Aires: Edhasa). La casa de los conejos Google Scholar

Bachelard, Gaston (1994) The Poetics of Space (Boston: Beacon Press). The Poetics of Space Google Scholar

Dufays, Sophie (2014) El niño en el cine argentino de la postdictadura (1983–2008). Alegoría y nostalgia (Woodbridge: Tamesis). El niño en el cine argentino de la postdictadura (1983–2008). Alegoría y nostalgia Google Scholar

Figueras, Marcelo (2002) Kamchatka (Buenos Aires: Alfaguara). Kamchatka Google Scholar

Foster, David William (2007) ‘Family romance and pathetic rhetoric in Marcelo Piñeyro’s Kamchatka’, in Contemporary Latin American Cinema: Breaking into the Global Market, ed. Deborah Shaw (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield), 105–116. ‘Family romance and pathetic rhetoric in Marcelo Piñeyro’s Kamchatka’ Contemporary Latin American Cinema: Breaking into the Global Market 105 116 Google Scholar

Foucault, Michel (1980) Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972–1977, trans. Colin Gordon (New York: Vintage Books). Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972–1977 Google Scholar

Foucault, Michel (1986) ‘Of other spaces: Utopias and heterotopias’, trans. Jay Miskowiec, Diacritics 16.1: 22–27. ‘Of other spaces: Utopias and heterotopias’ Diacritics 16 22 27 Google Scholar

Johnson, Peter (2006) ‘Unravelling Foucault’s “different spaces”’, History of the Human Sciences 19.4: 75–90. ‘Unravelling Foucault’s “different spaces”’ History of the Human Sciences 19 75 90 Google Scholar

Koza, Roger (2011) ‘Paula Markovitch: Nostalgia prematura’, Revista Vos. http://vos.lavoz.com.ar/content/paula-markovitch-nostalgia-prematura (accessed 14 November 2017). Google Scholar

Kuhn, Annette (2010) ‘Cinematic experience, film space, and the child’s world’, Canadian Journal of Film Studies 19.2: 82–98. ‘Cinematic experience, film space, and the child’s world’ Canadian Journal of Film Studies 19 82 98 Google Scholar

Leen, Catherine (2008) ‘City of fear: Reimagining Buenos Aires in contemporary Argentine Cinema’, Bulletin of Latin American Research 27.4: 465–492. ‘City of fear: Reimagining Buenos Aires in contemporary Argentine Cinema’ Bulletin of Latin American Research 27 465 492 Google Scholar

Logie, Ilse, and Bieke Willem (2015) ‘Narrativas de la postmemoria en Argentina y Chile: La casa revisitada’, Alternativas 5: 1–25. ‘Narrativas de la postmemoria en Argentina y Chile: La casa revisitada’ Alternativas 5 1 25 Google Scholar

Lury, Karen (2010) The Child in Film (London: I.B. Tauris). The Child in Film Google Scholar

Maguire, Geoffrey (2017a) ‘Playing in public: Domestic politics and prosthetic memory in Paula Markovitch’s El premio/The Prize (2011)’, Studies in Spanish & Latin American Cinemas 14.1: 3–21. ‘Playing in public: Domestic politics and prosthetic memory in Paula Markovitch’s El premio/The Prize (2011)’ Studies in Spanish & Latin American Cinemas 14 3 21 Google Scholar

Maguire, Geoffrey (2017b) The Politics of Postmemory: Violence and Victimhood in Contemporary Argentine Culture (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). The Politics of Postmemory: Violence and Victimhood in Contemporary Argentine Culture Google Scholar

Martin, Deborah (2013) ‘Childhood, Youth, and the In-between: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Lucrecia Martel’s La Mujer sin cabeza’, Hispanic Research Journal 14.2: 144–158. ‘Childhood, Youth, and the In-between: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Lucrecia Martel’s La Mujer sin cabeza’ Hispanic Research Journal 14 144 158 Google Scholar

Martin-Jones, David (2011) Deleuze and World Cinemas (London: Continuum Publishing Group). Deleuze and World Cinemas Google Scholar

Randall, Rachel (2015) ‘Childhood, movement and play: An analysis of child agency and heterotopia in Linha de Passe (2008) and Los colores de la montaña (2010)’, Bulletin of Latin American Research 34.2: 214–228. ‘Childhood, movement and play: An analysis of child agency and heterotopia in Linha de Passe (2008) and Los colores de la montaña (2010)’ Bulletin of Latin American Research 34 214 228 Google Scholar

Ranzani, Óscar (2012) ‘Militancia no es sinónimo de muerte, sino de crecer’, Página12. https://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/suplementos/espectaculos/2-25270-2012-05-20.html (accessed 14 November 2017). Google Scholar

Semán, Ernesto (2011) Soy un bravo piloto de la nueva China (Buenos Aires: Mondadori). Soy un bravo piloto de la nueva China Google Scholar

Svenso, César (2011) ‘Millions of small battles: The Peronist resistance in Argentina’, Bulletin of Latin American Research 30.3: 313–327. ‘Millions of small battles: The Peronist resistance in Argentina’ Bulletin of Latin American Research 30 313 327 Google Scholar

Tal, Tzvi (2005) ‘Alegorías de memoria y olvido en películas de iniciación: Machuca y Kamchatka’, Aisthesis 38: 136–151. ‘Alegorías de memoria y olvido en películas de iniciación: Machuca y Kamchatka’ Aisthesis 38 136 151 Google Scholar

Thomas, Sarah (2015) ‘Rupture and reparation: Postmemory, the child seer and graphic violence in Infancia clandestina’, Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas 12.3: 235–254. ‘Rupture and reparation: Postmemory, the child seer and graphic violence in Infancia clandestina’ Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas 12 235 254 Google Scholar

Tompkins, Joanna (2014) Theatre’s Heterotopias: Performance and the Cultural Politics of Space (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). Theatre’s Heterotopias: Performance and the Cultural Politics of Space Google Scholar

Tuñón, Julia, and Tzvi Tal (2007) ‘La infancia en las pantallas fílmicas latinoamericanas: Entre la idealización y el desencanto’, in Historia de la Infancia en América latina, ed. M.E. Manarelli (Bogotá: Universidad Externado de Colombia), 649–668. ‘La infancia en las pantallas fílmicas latinoamericanas: Entre la idealización y el desencanto’ Historia de la Infancia en América latina 649 668 Google Scholar

Wilson, Emma (2003) Cinema’s Missing Children (London: Wallflower Press). Cinema’s Missing Children Google Scholar

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Maguire, Geoffrey