copyright 2012, Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media
Jump Cut
, No. 54, fall 2012

The impossibility of mestizaje in The Hidden Nation: emblematic constructions in the cinema of Jorge Sanjinés

by Alber Quispe Escobar

translated with explanatory notes by Keith John Richards

Translator's introduction

Bolivia’s ethnic and cultural configuration is unique in South America; the country’s substantial indigenous presence is divided among several peoples. Of these the Aymara, based in western Bolivia in and around the area of La Paz, are among the most numerous. Urban migration is a particularly influential factor in ethnic and cultural identification, which varies according to social and political circumstances. The phenomenon of mestizaje, or ethnic and cultural mixing, has been a controversial issue ever since the Spanish conquest, as the stigma of backwardness attached to indigenous identity fluctuates and gradually diminishes.

Author’s abstract: In this article the author analyzes the critical representation of mestizaje as presented by Bolivian film director Jorge Sanjinés in his film The Hidden Nation (1989). He claims that the film, which fundamentally expresses concern for the construction of the Bolivian nation, represents mestizaje — as a social category — as outmoded, essentially an impossibility. Sanjinés’ film rather shows a nation founded on an “Andean essence” that the filmmaker seeks to reinforce, not only through the film’s plot but also through the narrative models that he applies, which confirm his political and ideological position.


In the work of the filmmaker Jorge Sanjinés, already celebrated in Bolivian and Latin American cinema, the most profound sociocultural problems occupy a fundamental place. From Sanjinés onwards, Bolivian cinema has not only experimented with alternative narrative models, but also (which is crucial) has marked a phase — ephemeral, certainly — of “a cinema alongside the people” that finds its most immediate expression in the indigenous cultures of Bolivia. These preoccupations are set forth, perhaps in a more precise manner, in his film The Hidden Nation, (1989) in which Sanjinés offers a suggestive reflection on the Bolivian cultural nation. This work is centered, precisely, on the basic crux of the film: criticism of the idealized mestizaje constructed in and for the Bolivian sphere in the early 20th century, to be strongly exalted and diffused by the “revolutionary nationalism” of the middle of the same century. Sanjinés’ film, among other media approaches, has revealed the cultural limits of a homogenizing mestizaje whilst showing us another form of projecting the Bolivian social dynamic. Hence there’s a need — although this doubtless stems from an ideological perspective — to understand the forms of representation and interpretation of the national problem that cinema can reveal to us.

In contrast with the existing bibliography on analysing the film (see García 1998), here I postulate that mestizaje in The Hidden Nation is an outmoded impossibility and affirm, on the contrary, this “Andean essence” in the construction of the Bolivian cultural nation. Thus it is understood that Sanjinés’ final proposal with regard to the construction of an “organic nation” — as the filmmaker has indicated — is founded on an indigenous subject rather than an indigenous/mestizo one. We will examine, then, this alternative means of setting forth the “national problem” through a film which, despite a distance of almost 20 years since its release, reflects some problems that have a bearing on Bolivia’s present sociocultural situation.

  1. A panorama of Sanjinés’ cinema

In a talk given at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in September 1995, Jorge Sanjinés underlined cinema’s “exploratory possibility” in the knowledge of human society. Here, the central features of his filmography are transparent, namely a preoccupation for the “backgrounds” of Andean indigenous culture, the construction of alternative aesthetic forms of representation, and continuity in the underlying political-ideological situation. These parameters have articulated Sanjinés’ extensive work (1962-2004)[1] [open endnotes in new window] with slight variations. In this discourse, similarly, the filmmaker emphasized a central concern of his cinema: the positioning of indigenous people and culture in the possible constitution of an “organic nation.” Sanjinés said on this occasion:

“We have been very much concerned with investigation, through cinema, into the background of our people’s soul. Even when we made denunciation films, which totally opposed the dominant system, we sought to approach what we called the country’s “internal rhythms.” We built a language based on a way of composing and organizing reality that is peculiar to our Andean world, because we are sure that if our society is one day going to make up an organic nation, it will be from assimilation and development of its Andean essence, of its identity, incorporating everything positive that modernity offers us.” (Sanjinés 1996: 74).

This problematic, regarding the position of the Andean world in the construction of the “organic nation” that Sanjinés deals with here, is the chief preoccupation of The Hidden Nation (1989). Through this film the filmmaker reflects counter-discursively, not only on the indigenous Andean identity conflict, but also on the sociocultural structure of the nation. But before going into this subject we will add a few lines on Sanjinés’ cinema as a way of reminding ourselves of its guiding principles.

Sanjinés’ cinema is anything but homogeneous: form, in his film writing and the political-ideological posture that accompanies it, varies slightly — without any implicit rupture — between Ukamau (And So It Is: 1966) and The Children of the Last Garden (2004). Two clearly-marked phases can be distinguished in his production, as the filmmaker has pointed out. Sanjinés explains this as follows:

“The first, lasting until 1978 — when democracy was restored in Bolivia — had denunciation as its axis. Blood of the Condor, The Courage of the People, Get out of Here, and The Principal Enemy, among other productions, were situated within this framework, at a moment when critical spaces were very closed and almost nonexistent."

Later I was able to dedicate myself to themes from a more reflective viewpoint. The Hidden Nation served to analyze, for example, the theme of cultural identity, and To Receive the Birds’ Song touched on the complex problem of racism and discrimination” (quoted in Ferrari 2003: 5).

These two axes — “denunciation” on the one hand, and “reflection” on the other — are, then, the frameworks that differentiate the cinema of “political radicalization” and Sanjinés’ cinema of “construction-proposal.” Here, of course, it is in the light of historical circumstances that Sanjinés’ narrative acquires contrasts, evidently without losing its political-ideological and aesthetic direction.[2]

2. “Circularity” of uprooting and return

In The Hidden Nation the plot’s tension alternates between uprooting and return, through the trajectory of its protagonist. Sebastián Mamani, as a child, abandons his Aymara community (Willkani) to face a chastening experience in La Paz. In this city his marginality leads him into certain apparent transformations in order to deny his indigenous condition. For example, he changes his surname from Mamani to Maisman. This apparent alteration, though, does not modify his sociocultural condition. In his keenness to integrate (camouflage) into the ranks of the citizenry he also adjusts to the repressive dominant regime by becoming a soldier. However, his position as an indigenous person — one he always attempts to deny — repeatedly underlines the cultural marginality that makes his life a torment. Perhaps for this reason his stay in the city is not definitive; after this adverse experience of marginality and racism, Sebastián returns to Willkani. There, on the margins — he is practically a foreigner — he is named jilakata [local authority]. His political leadership, however, distances itself from the community conception of the exercise of power; on the contrary, his decisions are unilateral and only satisfy his own personal interests. As punishment Sebastián is judged, threatened and obliged to abandon the community.

Upon his return to the city, Sebastián resolves to (re)affirm his indigenous belonging through the execution of the “Jacha Tata Danzante,” a dance which constitutes a ritual act executed until the performer dies of exhaustion. The protagonist, carrying an ancestral mask, returns to his community to put an end to his erroneous conduct with the memory of this dance, latent since his infancy. Thus the “rebirth” of his identity is figured in Sebastián’s contemplation at the (very) moment of his burial.

The Hidden Nation, as such, narrates the story of Sebastián’s conflictive identity from the relationship between the indigenous world and the sociocultural spaces of this city. Thus the emblem of cultural identity — a highly complex matter — articulates the narrative of the film.

  1. A little theory

Before going into the film’s perspective on mestizaje, we will prepare the terrain with a few indispensable reflections on this theme and its labyrinthine configurations.

The terms “mestizo” and “cholo”,[3] intimately linked in their origins, are products of complex sociocultural and racial relations constructed during and since the colonial era. This complexity, as Javier Sanjinés (1996) points out, make it impossible for mestizos and cholos to be defined exclusively in terms of race, class, ethnicity or geographical location. The ambiguities and imprecisions are expressed not only because the terminology comes out of a complex historical process loaded with subjective valuations but also, fundamentally, “because one forgets that language marks and conceals the differences and subordinations of a concrete social stratification that implies that the terminology and the discourse of ‘mestizaje’ are indisputably ideological.” (Barragán 1992: 17).[4] Indeed such categorizations, a legacy of the colonial past, conceal and reinforce the power relations founded on the opposition between the Creole-white and the cholo-Indian.[5]

In the Bolivian sphere, as Javier Sanjinés proposes, mestizaje has been built since the early 20th century (after a negative vision of what this term implies at the end of the 19th century) “as a power discourse,” above all with the revolution of 1952, whose identity proposal leant heavily on mestizaje. This means that through a discourse on the national, a homogeneous trawl through mestizaje was brought about in a bid to dissolve the profoundly differentiated character of Bolivian social stratification.[6] These ideas, similarly established in the official discourse of neoliberalism, were attempts by Bolivian reality to “sublimate” and exalt mestizaje as a synthesis of reality, thus overcoming Bolivia’s social and cultural diversity (Sanjinés 2005).

On the other hand, mestizaje is also a cultural fact (at times confusedly seen as a social category) that, far from being a molded structure, rather presents varying contours. According to this logic mestizaje is associated fundamentally with the processes of social and cultural mobility from indigenous groups to urban spheres. Here, certainly, there is a tendency towards a static conception, indicating that any change in what is considered indigenous tends towards mestizaje; however, these theoretical lines — it seems to me — indicate the ‘origin’ of the processes of cultural mestizaje.

In this same direction, these cultural processes also interweave with so-called ‘cholification’ (seen as a Bolivianized form of mestizaje) which would seem, in our view, to be the most pertinent means of analysis, since this term seeks to explain the cultural changes undergone by indigenous people in urban centers. Nevertheless, this term is little-defined and is evoked almost always in a pejorative way. For this reason, for the particular ends of this analysis, I prefer the term mestizaje, considered as the result of cultural interweaving that emerges through the superposition of Andean and western elements but constructed in a complex manner, giving rise to a series of categorizations such as ‘cholo’, ‘acculturated Indian’ ‘chola’, ‘chota’[7] etc., which foreshadow ideological charges and reinforce the strict hierarchy of Bolivian society.

Having made these notes, then, we can return to a reflection on the work of Jorge Sanjinés which will permit us to specify these generalizations upon the particular case of his protagonist.

4. Emblems of the process of mestizaje

“For some time now Sebastián has been breaking my heart because, when living in the city, he changed his surname […] Since then he has been ashamed of us […].”

With these words, uttered in Aymara and in a pained sob, Sebastián’s mother opens the film. The background to this expression shows that Sebastián’s distancing from his community marks the characteristics of the image of the ‘acculturated Indian’. It is not, however, the simple displacement from countryside to city that defines this image of Sebastián. Beyond this duality is a rupture with the “Andean essence” which makes possible the constitution of this cultural condition. In other words, we might say that the image of the “mestizo” or rather “cholo” germinates from the cultural negation that Sebastián seeks in the city in attempting to move away, without any great success, from his original condition.

For this reason, the film’s perspective leads us to think that the city operates as a mechanism in the process of mestizaje. All the same, the errant condition of Sebastián incarnates the socio-cultural prejudices associated with the figure of the “Latinized Indian” which accentuate a difference from the indigenous. Hence the community’s perception of Sebastián becomes conflictive in relation to his non-indigenous attributes. Hence relations between Sebastián and the community, despite its partial acceptance of him as a political authority, are expressed in terms of rejection.

In this way reference to “the process of mestizaje” is constructed not in relation to a biological synthesis but according to a countryside-city social mobility that forms, then defines, Sebastián’s errant condition. This is clarified — I insist — with Sebastián’s negative self-onslaught regarding his condition as a native Bolivian. The perception, it seems, that the indigenous villagers themselves have of Sebastián could be better expressed with the term “acculturated Indian.” But besides this, the negative view from below (from the community) is constructed above all in relation to the “Latinized profile” of the protagonist. Betrayal, servility, and personal benefit at the cost of the community are among the elements that cause Sebastián’s relationship with the community to become tense when he is named jilakata: thus his rejection and expulsion from the community is a product of the protagonist’s Latinized exteriorization.

Definitively the city-countryside relationship expresses, in terms of a cultural counter-position, the tension in Sebastián’s identity. Let’s say, then, that the concrete sense of cultural estrangement does not emerge from mere displacement from countryside to city, but rather that it is constructed both as a negation-rupture of the indigenous and as a permanent desire to assimilate to the city’s “otherness.” Hence the appropriation of linguistic elements, clothing and non-indigenous experiences are decisive in this characterization. These elements show with some clarity the cultural displacement of the “Indian condition” towards mestizaje.[8]

5. Marginal image of the mestizo

In “Indigenism and National Subjects in the Cinema of Jorge Sanjinés” (1998) Leonardo García Pabón underlines that, in The Hidden Nation, Sanjinés proposes the constitution of a “national subject” through his protagonist, Sebastián. Sebastián’s “errant condition” permits Sanjinés — according to García — to approach “social spaces and national institutions” (the army, for example). For that reason, the critic maintains, Sebastián’s identity at the end of the film is the “result of a series of identities” formed inside these spaces. From this configuration, then, emerges a subject that is not only indigenous but, fundamentally, national. In other words, the “new national subject” in the broadest sense is the consequence of the experience that Sebastián has forged, both with the values of his Andean culture and with those values that he has assimilated in “national spaces” (García 1998: 258-260).

I believe that Sanjinés, in proposing a “national subject” in this film through Sebastián, does so by privileging the Andean experience and by rather negating that experience constructed in his “errant condition.” It is evident that at the end of the film the superseding (preceded by negation) of Sebastián’s “acculturated condition” is made concrete, thus giving way to the “indigenous subject.” The metaphorical elements of this operation (overcoming-negating) are quite eloquent. Thus the protagonist’s death is the fundamental fact of this transition. It is not a case, then, of a senseless death; on the contrary, death symbolizes the circular conception of Andean time, as well as the beginning of a new existence, or rather of a rebirth. That death-birth is articulated as such in the dance of the “Jacha Tata Danzante” which requires a sense of the Andean in memorizing an almost forgotten past. Only by means of this ritual, in a background of collective meaning, can the “errant” Sebastián again become a part of his community. Sebastián’s appearance, then, at the moment of his burial, announces a profoundly Andean rebirth. In this way the Sebastián of betrayal, of deceit, of lying, is entombed by the Sebastián who has returned to his cultural roots.[9]

The considered image of the “acculturated Indian” dissolves, as a consequence, into the accepted canons of the indigenous. In this way the affirmation of the “integral subject” is the negation of the “acculturated Indian”; the new Sebastián, profoundly Andean, is imposed upon the uprooted Sebastián. All in all, it is the negation of the “errant subject” that makes possible the configuration of the new indigenous subject. It gives the impression, however, that this negation is not a mere systemic rupture since Sebastián’s experience, forged in the “national spaces,” allows construction and projection of the (re)affirmed profound indigenous subject. Be this as it may, the experience of acculturation vanishes at the end of the film, instead acquiring a completely negative character.

6. Circular aesthetic: under the Andean gaze

The plot of the film is constructed with filmic resources from Sanjinés’ own cinema. On the aesthetic plane two specific elements can be noted: firstly, the reappearance of the individual protagonist (Sebastián) in contrast with the representation of the collective protagonist (people/community) in his previous films and, secondly, the consolidation of the “all-encompassing sequence shot” which develops from The Principal Enemy onwards. This opting for the individual protagonist, as a narrative strategy, centers the problematic tension on Sebastián. If the idea of the “collective character-author” of his previous films represented community (collective) conflicts, now this tension is manifested according to the dilemmas within the indigenous subject. For this reason the reflection on cultural identity in Sebastián is the nucleus that articulates this representation. The turn towards the individual protagonist does not imply in any way a rupture with Sanjinés’ political-ideological focus: the preoccupation with the background of indigenous peoples acquires a more specific dimension in The Hidden Nation.

The use of the “all-encompassing sequence shot” is the narrative resource that allows Sanjinés to structure the film’s storyline according to the Andean circular conception of time. It reflects, as such, the “visual perception” that indigenous cultures have of the world. Sanjinés says in this regard:

“The ‘all-encompassing sequence shot’ as I call it (which is a long shot that takes in a whole scene-sequence in which there are no cuts; in which there are no breaks; in which the movements of camera and actors interweave; in which it is possible to include all possible shots, from a close-up to a long shot) responds to an idea of circular time in the Andean world, which is distinct from western linear time and which, on the other hand, is expressing the feeling of integration, of collectivity, particular to the Andean people” (quoted in Bajo 2003).

The Hidden Nation, as Sanjinés underlines, is a film of “100 sequences and 100 shots” which “captures the spectator, wraps him up, traps him within it but allows him to think, carries him along in aesthetic enjoyment, in reflection” (quoted in Bajo 2003: undated). Hence the “all-encompassing sequence shot” also constitutes the filmmaker’s profound affirmation of Andean cultures. Now, within these profoundly indigenist/Andeanist guidelines, we should ask ourselves — perhaps at the risk of 'over-interpreting' and being too radical — whether or not Sanjinés' films fall into a kind of 'aesthetic mestizaje,' since cinema originates in the western world. In other words, the thematic and aesthetic elements with which the filmmaker works, if they correspond principally to the Andean cultures of Bolivia, nonetheless elude all the models associated with this so very western invention. This, of course, is nothing if not a product of the strange and ambivalent modernity that Sanjinés, it should be pointed out, professes to recognize.

7. Disenchantment with the idealized mestizo

In a dialogue concerning The Courage of the People, Fernando Calderón and Javier Sanjinés reflect that the cinema of Jorge Sanjinés produces a “rupture with the verticality of aesthetic resources” constructed under the aegis of the lettered.[10] This new process, for which the authors use the term “de-sublimation of reality,” consequently subverts the vertical and abstract lettered search for the national (v Calderón and Sanjinés 1999: 65). Certainly, from the lettered sublimation of reality or “aesthetization of the real” we are present, with Jorge Sanjinés (let it be made clear, the filmmaker) at a “politicization of the aesthetic” that breaks with “the lettered abstract” in order to construct itself in the here and now.

The subversion of “the sublimating gaze of reality” is not, however, a background exclusive to The Courage of the People, for the filmic work by Sanjinés as a whole is constructed on democratic parameters — if anything — as a rupture with “the lettered.” This is not a case, then, of a cinema constructed “for” the people; on the contrary, the films of Sanjinés are constructed “with” and “from” the people. This is precisely the originality of Sanjinés within Bolivian cinema. In this sense, the background of the “all-encompassing sequence shot” that, as a narrative resource, is closer to the visual perception that Andean cultures have of the world. All the same, the structuring of the film aesthetic according to Andean elements, making indigenous people active participants, is the reflection of what Calderón and Sanjinés call “de-sublimation of reality.”

The rupture in the cinema of Jorge Sanjinés with the “lettered gaze” is expressed clearly in relation to the discourse on mestizaje constructed in the early 20th century by Bolivian intellectuals and strongly disseminated, in its homogenizing version, by “revolutionary nationalism.” For, if the idealized and homogenizing quest for mestizaje is constructed as a “sublimating intention” (v Sanjinés & Calderón, 1996) of the nationalist discourse as a search for “the national,” Jorge Sanjinés, on the contrary, questions this idealized and vertical gaze to propose, with his cinema, a more open way — let us say it in those terms — and a more radical way (at the same time) of defining the nation. According to this logic The Hidden Nation, just like this filmmaker’s other work, questions the construction of the homogeneous and idealized mestizo to project, as a counterpoint, an “organic nation” according to the “Andean essence.” However, the representation of the homogeneous and idealized mestizo as negative, in contrast with the affirmation of the Andean quest for the construction of the national, conceals — it appears to me — the same authoritarian form as the “lettered ideal.”

8. From the clandestine to the visible, by way of a conclusion

The Hidden Nation is, strictly speaking, Jorge Sanjinés’ political-ideological and aesthetic self-affirmation with regard to the Andean indigenous cultures of Bolivia. Prevailing in the background of the film, without a doubt, is a radical criticism of mestizaje “as a discourse of power,” to cite Javier Sanjinés (2005) which, throughout history, has negated the indigenous as a way of conceiving the national. Hence the way in which the interpretation of mestizaje is constructed, in the narrative weave, is a negative way, subjected to an impossibility. This characterization, as we have seen, emerges from a rupture with the indigenous and its consequent negation. In this way, ethnic and cultural mixing, in counterpoint to the cosmic vision of the Andean world, is associated — almost mechanically — with the betrayal and servility that characterize the figure of the “acculturated Indian” underlying social imaginaries. For this reason Jorge Sanjinés, countering the national discourse on mestizaje, understands that the only possibility of constructing and constituting an “organic nation” in Bolivia is through an assimilation of the “Andean essence.”

To conclude, the proposal made by Sanjinés with regard to the national problem not only reveals the cultural limits of mestizaje in the possible national construction of Bolivia, but it turns this on its head, as Javier Sanjinés (2005) suggests, with regard to the recent social movements faced with the image of mestizaje — and proposes its disarticulation. Given these circumstances we can today note the grave crisis in this homogenizing discourse of mestizaje and the emergence, still ambivalent, of new ways of thinking the national from the multiple, from the diverse, and, with Jorge Sanjinés, above all from the “Andean essence.” In some way, then, the film is also a synthesis of the subaltern movements against hegemonic integration, at least in its idealized outline of mestizaje.


Quispe's acknowledgment: The initial ideas presented in this work correspond to a chapter I wrote in “Cine y mestizaje. Emblemas y imaginaries de lo mestizo en el cine boliviano” (Cinema and mestizaje. Emblems and Imaginaries of the Mestizo in Bolivian Cinema), Collective Research Workshop (2005) at the Department of Sociology, Universidad Mayor de San Simón.

1. Translator’s note: a new film by Sanjinés, entitled Insurgentes, has been released this year (2012). Further notes, unless otherwise indicated, are the author’s. [return to text]

2. The “Indian problem” and the Andean telluric, earthly force inscribed in Ukamau (1966) inaugurate the process of indigenist interpretation. Blood of the Condor (1969) sees a clarification — perhaps a definition — of the filmmaker’s political posture, still imprecise in Ukamau, which will become radicalized in The Courage of the People (1971) with the idea of the “collective character” (framed in the massacres of miners). This overshadows the individual protagonist of the two previous films to become firmly established in The Principal Enemy (1973), Get Out of Here (1977) and The Flags of Dawn (1983), films which, each in their own way, go deeper into the indigenous problematic (see Mesa 1985: 79-102).

3. Translator’s note: the term “mestizo” applies to those considered of mixed (white-Indian) heritage, while “cholo” is used (often disparagingly) for the urban Indian at some point in the process of acculturation.

4. The same author considers that, in colonial social stratification, the mestizos and cholos (the latter being children of mestizos and Indians) constituted the “intermediate caste” between indigenous society and Spanish society. “In historical development, and as a result of little-analyzed processes such as nominal changes (and what they imply) in the social hierarchy of the ‘republican’ era, the term [mestizo], which in the 19th century still designated a sector of the population that was neither Creole nor western, comes to have a much broader content in our [20th] century.” (Barragán 1992: 23).

5. Translator’s note: see note 3 above — it should be remembered that such categorizations can depend as much on social and economic status as on biological conditions. In this context ‘creole’, which once indicated a person of Spanish descent but born in the Americas, is today a reference to the urban culture that is a legacy of this demographic sector.

6. From the early decades of the 20th century mestizaje, set out mainly in the literary production and essay-writing of that era, has been subject to the imaginary construction of the nation. These interpretations, which inaugurated the problematic of the national question in Bolivia, continued during later decades in varying shades. Thus, in the period following the Chaco War (1932-1935), the political class and the military constituted a mestizo-Creole sector whose re-thinking of the country was supported by a “mestizo imaginary” since national popular discourse turned into an attractive political ideology; these circumstances marked a convergent “social force of mestizaje.” The 1952 National Revolution, which buried the liberal oligarchy, similarly deepened the social force in such a way that “imagined mestizaje” turned into the cultural force in the construction of the “new nation.” In other words, the elite supporters of the ruling National Revolutionary Movement sought a national reconstruction that was based on a mestizo imaginary (see Sanjinés C 2005).

7. Translator’s note: these are further categorizations akin to those explained in note 3.

8. A precise element that configures the image of the “acculturated Indian” in the protagonist is the change of surname, which clearly manifests a rejection of his Andean identity. However, this false alteration becomes a motive of mockery in the mouths of two government functionaries. All the same, it is possible to identify two intentions in the change of surname: on the one hand the intention of “social climbing” is implicit and on the other, the intention of “survival” is visible, if perhaps more superficial.

9. Indeed, the similarity is noteworthy between the sense of death in Sanjinés and the Christian death of Jesus. The idea of sacrifice, both in the Judeo-Christian tradition and in this film, marks the possibility of a higher cause. Sebastián (in the Danzante) just like Jesus (on the cross) offers the immolation of his “human experience” for a “renewal.”

10. Translator’s note: here, ‘lettered’ refers to a dichotomy explored by Ángel Rama’s The Lettered City (1986); a colonial legacy of writing as power that traditionally excluded non-whites from both literacy and the urban environment.

Works cited

Bajo, Ricardo: (2003). "El tiempo circular de Jorge Sanjinés." <www.elojoquepiensa.com> (12.09.05).

Barragán, Rossana (1992). “Identidades indias y mestizas: una intervención al debate.” Autodeterminación, No. 10: 17-44, La Paz.

Ferrari, Sergio (2003). “Jorge Sanjinés: ‘El poder no quiere entender a esa otra Bolivia.’” El juguete rabioso. No. 78: p.5, La Paz.

Garcia Pabón, Leonardo (1998). “Indigenismo y sujetos nacionales en el cine de Jorge Sanjinés. A propósito de La nación clandestina.” La patria íntima. Alegorías nacionales en la literatura y el cine de Bolivia. La Paz, Plural.

Mesa, Carlos: La aventura del cine boliviano (1952-1985). La Paz, Gisbert y Cía.

Sanjinés, Jorge (1996): “Cine y sociedad.” El tonto del Pueblo, No 1: pp. 73-76, La Paz.

Sanjinés, Javier (1996): Cholos viscerales: desublimación y crítica del mestizaje. La Paz, ILDNIS.

Sanjinés, Javier (2005): El espejismo del mestizaje. IFEA/Embassy of France/PIEB.

Sanjinés, Javier and Francisco Calderón (1999): El gato que ladra. La Paz, Plural/CID.

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