SPA375H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Establishing Shot, Lux, Forced Disappearance

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22 Feb 2015
- if it’s not written or documented, we don’t know really what happened.
- We don’t know what happened to the oppressed or those who disappeared on one
hand, the middle class/oppressor ignore the situation
- On one hand it’s individual, the other it’s social. The individual – protagonist, and
those who surround her; social – the changing environment. Does it change them
or do they change the environment? Is it just the individual lady or something
- The violence is hidden in the beginning, covered/disguised.
- Small episode where colleague of her husband wants to look for something…
- Topic is memory and trauma. Why is memory important?
- Personal movie? Ideological? Non-ideological?
- Ignorance
- Roberto – husband of protagonist
- Techniques
oCamerawork, sounds, setting, form – how does form impact the context
- Civilization vs. barbarity (eliminate opposition silently, remove them from
- Ana vs husband in parking lot underground – visual signs from that scene: why is
it set in the underground parking??
oGrey concrete – prison, torture
oMetallic doors of elevator – punisher escapes in car lux car
oScene is key
- Scenes re: peaceful protesting  removes from the fictional world, shows actual
- Articles sobre los rubios:
oGeneration of children of those who disappeared, disappearances are
ongoing process for them.
oWhy are they looking for the past, why do they need to do that? Main
objective of the movie?  Closure.
oMemory is not static but influenced by one’s perception and experience.
oZombie metaphor – return of the dead, the dead define everyday life and
shape reality.
oPresent past – the past reshapes present and allows people to in a certain
way, liberate themselves from living dead/ghosts of the past that haunt
oGovernment refused funding for the documentary – why? Remove focus
from the bad or themselves; wants to repeat official history. Give
society/spectators the idea of the history, the things that happen….
filmmakers are looking for something else.
- Why are the two movies shown together? Los rubios – continuation of questions
that are opened up during la historia oficial. Aftermath of what happened during
historia oficial.
Recording notes:
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- The objective of our tutorials is to exchange opinions on the theory and the
movies that we watch on Tuesday morning.
- This Tuesday we have seen the movie from Argentina, The Official Story. This
movie was popular at some time ….it won Oscars, Golden Globe in 1985…it was
huge for Argentinian cinema.
- We are looking at memory and trauma today. Start our discussion with …your
reactions to the movie. Why do you think it’s connected to the issues of memory?
Why do you think it deals with trauma and traumatic things, in general what
strikes you about that movie? What do you think, is it real, is It emotional, maybe
it’s even artificial.
-I think it’s about how there are some things that aren’t documented or there isn’t a
paper trail so it’s trying to sort out how you can know about what you can’t
necessarily remember or remember in the conventional way.
- Pretty much, what’s not on paper doesn’t exist – that could be one of the topics of
that movie. Any other ideas?
-About la historia oficial – it’s interesting to see …because you always see the
evolution of people, those who were affected by all of this, the opposition. And
you never actually see that in the official story, it’s interesting to see the people
between these two groups – like the people who had to deal with the situation of
the entire gov. and you mostly don’t know what happened to those people, you just
had to deal wit the situation.
- So on one end we don’t know what happened to the oppressed, to those who
disappeared, to those they called desaparecido but also subversivo or subversive,
based upon subversion. On one hand it’s the idea of the oppressed, and the other
hand the oppressor – the middle class who prefers to close their eyes to ignore
what’s happening…
-I think it’s also interesting how the protagonist is a history teacher and she herself
has this certain history of what happened and that changes and evolves
throughout the movie itself even though there’s physicial changes too..she let’s her
hair down, and…she becomes more open to more than just one narrative of the
past and was even challenged by one of her students. So playing with that
dynamic in conjunction with what’s actually happening as well. The gov is saying
one thing and doing another. Interesting.
- So you’re interested in the individual line of the protagonist, her personal
development through history. Her journey from being ignorant….to someone who
is inclined.
- So it’s….on one hand it’s individual and the other it’s social.
- Individual is obv Albertina the protagonist and those who surround her. The social
is the environment that changes. Does the environment change to them or do they
change the environment? What is the dynamics of interaction fo the society and
individual? Is it just an individual journey of a lady or is it something….that
encompasses more? More of it? What do you think?
- Were there any moments in the movie that made you feel that it shouldn’t be
shown, that is not what you want to see?? Anything that made you feel
uncomfortable? Did you have a desire to close your eyes or something like that??
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-I think when he forced her head against a wall and crushed her hand…not usre if
it was her acting on things or different dynamics acting on her. It was forces
acting on her …
- Yes, she lives ….so there is a violent, which is first of all hidden. In the beginning
of the movie ti almost doesn’t appear it’s all covered by these romantic dinners
of…the happy wellbeing of families of the middle class, and then the violence
appears little by little. Remember the small bit where the colleague of her husband
wants to look for something…what happens?? What do you think that means?
-When she was leaving …saw through crack of door that they were choking her
with his tie.
- So personality first tries to protest, then it disappears, it is ousted from society, it
is taken away…for some reasons. What could be those reasons? Why does it
happen, what are the ways to confront it? Why the memories are so important?
What do you think in general about the memory of this movie, bc remember our
topic is memory and trauma. Why is the memory important? Is this movie about
the memory??
-Well at the beginning of the film they had this phrase that says history is the
memory of a country. And like all of these people that suffer…from dictatorships
or gov, it’s so…disgusting to see all these oppressors trying to erase all the things
that happened. She didn’t know what happened with her daughter, how she got
her…not only this film but films like this are trying to bring back all of these
things that were hidden for so long and it’s part of the history of the country.
- So the history on the one hand it’s existing and the other it’s hidden, it’s silenced,
it’s not pronounced and it’s important to bring it up bc the lady feels the need to…
reveal why is her daughter, what’s happening to her daughter? Does the movie
convince you that she was such an innocent all these years?? What do you think?
-I actually had a problem with the way she was portrayed,I thought it was lazy and
kind of cheap to make her so innocent and it was almost like a martyr in the
movie when in reality someone in her position like upper class woman, married to
someone powerful…and who’s always of a certain age and who teaches history so
who is educated, it seems kind of cheap to write her as someone who is
completely oblivious to e verything that is happening around her, one day she
wakes up and realizes that…all these bad things are around her and she didn’t
realize It before doesn’t make sense.
- To you It looks cheap maybe its artificial to underline something just to show a
scheme. Of behavior…to think all of a sudden where she comes from..
-Ithink she prob was a little bit ignorant of what was going on bc she doesn’t seem
to care about what happened to other people until it affected her life like her
friend told her about her personal experience and she didn’t even care that much
about that until she thought about the fact that she could be complicit by having
adopted this child so its really like she prob had some idea or wasn’t paying
attention to what was happening until she was implicated and …
- The entire…events didn’t touch her…until something happened and she felt
herself suddenly involved. She started to develop this relationship with another
teacher who was very open towards the events. And then it all happened. And…
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