1. I use the term “Andean” to refer to indigenous peoples of the Andean region of Peru. This avoids the misguided term “Indian,” and acknowledges the historical identity of indigenous peoples of the area across the region, rather than disintegrated nationalities that were introduced following independence from Spain.

2. All references to “Sendero” or the “Party” are to this particular faction of the Communist Party in Peru. Sendero’s activities came at a time when South America had been stifled by extended periods of military rule and the general retreat of the left from a class-based politics. This was in contrast to Central America that saw broad-based movements such as the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the FMLN in El Salvador, and the indigenous movement of Guatemala.

3. The foundational indigenismo text was Clorinda Matto de Turner’s Aves sin nido. There are also varying degrees of indigenous identity. Indigenous identity that drew from the Andean region was privileged because of its roots in the Inca empire, which lent the movement a legitimising discourse. The Incas were esteemed as a highly organised society with long-developed cultural traditions and a high level of economic activity, which were destroyed by the colonial invaders. Reinforcing notions of cultural purity, these perceptions contrasted with attitudes towards other indigenous cultures such as those of the Amazon region which were largely ignored or derided in early indigenista writings.

4. The emphasis on foreignness was also a tactic of the military dictatorships of the Southern Cone region in order to justify rooting out opposition. By attributing insurgent activities to foreign influences (such as the Soviet Union or Cuba), it was possible to argue the defence of the nation. While Peru wasn’t under a military dictatorship, its armed forces would have been influenced by the national security doctrine that had developed amongst Latin American militaries.

5. Retablos are painted triptych wooden boxes with figurines inside. Originally Spanish, they were used to depict the Saints and Christian scenes and were soon adapted by the Andean population to represent very local traditions.

6. See Val Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature (London: Routledge, 1993) 2-5.

7. Known as rondas, these civil defence groups were often used by the military to fight Sendero rather than providing a genuine defence force for the communities they were formed in.

8. Starn highlights this ambiguous identity in Sendero as an insider/outsider movement, and cites the example of The Lion’s Den as successfully capturing this identity (71-72).

9. The politics of La vida es una sola saw it rated for viewers over 18 by the same board that regularly rated pornographic movies.

10. The most notable effort was the Cuzco School of the 1950s where filmmakers such as Chambi, Figueroa, and Nishiyama attempted to create an Andean cinema as part of an overall project of representing an authentic national cinema.

11. See Angel Rama, The Lettered City, for an overview of the history of the role of intellectuals and the development of literature in Latin America as an elite institution.

12. It is significant that the translation in the subtitles for “Senderista” in Spanish, that is, a person who belongs to Sendero, appears haphazardly in English as “terrorist.”

13. The term “resistant adaptation” is taken from Stern who cites Degregori’s reference to the way in which Indians cooperated with Sendero as a means of preserving themselves (Stern 127, note 1).

14. Attempts to reincorporate an Andean sensibility in Latin American politics have been made by current Bolivian president, Evo Morales.

Works cited

Bedoya, Ricardo. Cien años de cine en el Perú: Una historia crítica, 2nd ed. Lima: Universidad de Lima/ Fondo de Desarrollo, 1995.

________. “La boca del lobo / The Lion’s Den.” Alberto Elena and Marina Díaz López (eds). The Cinema of Latin America. London: Wallflower, 2003. 185-91.

Cotler, Andrés. “El cine peruano y Sendero Luminoso: La vida es una sola.” La Gran Ilusión 2 (1994): 98-102.

Degregori, Carlos Iván. “Harvesting Storms: Peasant Rondas and the Defeat of Sendero Luminoso in Ayacucho.” Stern (ed). 128-57.

Mariátegui, José Carlos. Siete ensayos de interpretación de la realidad peruana. Lima: Biblioteca Amauta, 1928.

Montoya, Rodrigo. “Libertad, democracia y problema étnico en el Perú.” Alberto Adrianzén (ed). Democracia, etnicidad y violencia política en los países andinos. Lima: IFEA/IEP, 1993. 102-12.

Oliart, Patricia. “Alberto Fujimori: “The Man Peru Needed?” Stern (ed). 411-24.

Plumwood, Val. Feminism and the Mastery of Nature. London: Routledge, 1993.

Rama, Angel. The Lettered City. Trans. John Charles Chasteen. Durham: Duke UP, 1996.

Starn, Orin. “Missing the Revolution: Anthropologists and the War in Peru,” Cultural Anthropology 6.1 (1991): 63-91.

Stern, Steve. “Beyond Enigma: An Agenda for Interpreting Shining Path and Peru.” Stern (ed). Shining and Other Paths. Durham: Duke UP, 1998. 1-21.

Tomkins, Cynthia. “Representations of Gender, Race/Ethnicity and Subalternity in Marianne Eyde’s La vida es una sola.” Studies in Latin American Popular Culture 20 (2001) 135-148.

To topPrint versionJC 49 Jump Cut home

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.