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Notes

1. All translations from Spanish-language sources are my own unless stated otherwise. [return to page 1]

2. Most of the Ukamau Group’s films, from Sanjinés’ debut feature Ukamau (And So It Is, 1966) to his most recent picture Los hijos del último jardín (The Sons of the Last Garden, 2004) are spoken mainly or wholly in Quechua and/or Aymara. Eastern, lowland Bolivia, with a much lower proportion of indigenous inhabitants, features little in Sanjinés’ films and writings. Sanjinés’ earlier independent short Revolución (Revolution, 1963) has no direct sound; in his subsequent short Aysa! (Landslide, 1965), only a single word is spoken: the Quechua “Aysa” of the title.

3. For a thorough account of the background, politics and repercussions of the MNR regime, see Dunkerley (1984).

4. From 1964-1982 Bolivia had 13 presidents, the longest-standing of whom were René Barrientos (1964-1969) and Hugo Bánzer (1971-1978).

5. Although the Peace Corps promoted the U.S. government’s agenda of birth control in Bolivia, little concrete evidence has been found that it conducted enforced sterilisation of indigenous women: an issue that interested Sanjinés in a metaphorical more than a literal sense (Siekmeier 2000). I analyze most of the Ukamau Group’s films in depth in my doctoral thesis (Wood 2005).

6. Himpele (2008: 183) notes that in La tribunal libre (and by extension in Condepa’s politics), “just as the popular classes themselves felt abandoned or marginalized by the promises of the paternalist nation-state that had dominated the twentieth century [Palenque’s] voice recuperated desire toward the fantasy he conducted of a prosperous popular nation-state.” On the strong bargaining power that Condepa obtained following the 1989 elections, see Himpele (2008: 142-143).

7. For an analysis of La nación clandestina in relation to nationality and to the intellectual and literary currents of indigenism to which it refers, see García Pabón (2001).

8. It does not seem coincidental that the name of Sebastián’s ayllu evokes that of 19th-century Aymara leader Pablo Zárate Willka.

9. It was during Barrientos’ presidency, in October 1967, that guerrilla leader Che Guevara was captured and killed at Ñancahuazú in south-eastern Bolivia.

10. Rivera Cusicanqui (1991: 45) points out that “nayra means ancient, in the past, but also eye, or vision."

11. Schiwy studies the work of CEFREC (Centre for Cinematographic Training and Production), established in La Paz in 1989 by Iván Sanjinés, son of Jorge. CEFREC has offered workshops at rural locations across Bolivia for indigenous media practitioners since 1996. According to the website of the National Indigenous Plan for Audiovisual Communication, which is coordinated by CEFREC and CAIB (Indigenous Audiovisual Coordinating Body of Bolivia), in its first ten years the Plan trained over 300 indigenous communicators who produced more than 400 videos of various genres as well as regular television and radio programmes; see www.sistemadecomunicacionindigena.org/inf/PlanNacional.aspx (consulted 27 June 2012).

12. For Mariátegui (1975: 60-65), the regime of collective ownership and labour in pre-Hispanic Inca society formed the basis of an agrarian communism that was analogous, although different in form, to Marx’s concept of communism in industrialized societies. In his critique of Mariátegui, Juan Carlos Grijalva (2010: 325-326) notes that the Peruvian thinker relies on a nostalgic and idealized concept of Inca society and that his vision of social change “still believed in the ‘ontological centrality’ of a revolutionary subject, the Indian, who represented a homogenous and single political entity that would transform history through revolution.” Sanjinés openly acknowledges Mariátegiu’s intellectual influence on his filmmaking practice.

13. Pérez is director of photography of Sanjinés’ three most recent features La nación clandestina, Para recibir el canto de los pájaros (To Hear the Birds Singing, 1995) and Los hijos del último jardín (2004). [return to page 2]

14. Burch’s Theory of Film Practice, a compilation of texts previously published in Cahiers du Cinéma, both builds on and diverges from existing intellectual currents in French and European film theory and criticism and in critical and political theory more broadly. See Annette Michelson’s introduction to Theory of Film Practice (Burch 1973: v-xv) on Burch’s renewed appeal to the modernist tradition, against André Bazin’s antimodernist celebration of democratic realism in the cinema. On Burch’s debt of gratitude, in defining the “zero point of cinematic style,” both to Eisenstein and to Bertolt Brecht’s notion of theatrical identification, see Burch’s own introduction to the English-language edition of his book (1973: vi-xx). On the various ways in which Burch’s IMR builds on the work of Jean-Louis Baudry, Umberto Eco, Louis Althusser, Roland Barthes and others, see Rodowick (1988: 111-125).

15. For Sanjinés’ own self-critique of the cultural misunderstandings implied in the methodological and grammatical approach of Yawar Mallku, and on the Ukamau Group’s subsequent attempts to overcome such cultural barriers between themselves and highland indigenous communities by altering their own filmmaking praxis, see his essay “La experiencia boliviana” (Sanjinés and Grupo Ukamau 1979: 13-33).

16. The 1979 book was translated into English in 1989 as Theory and Practice of a Cinema with the People (Sanjinés and Grupo Ukamau 1989).

16b. On the links between Italian neo-realism and the Ukamau Group’s film Yawar Mallku (1969), see Hess (1993).

17. According to Sanjinés, the narrator in Jatun Auka follows the tradition of the storyteller in Andean popular culture, who provides a synthesis of the story before narrating the details, thereby eliminating suspense (Sanjinés and Grupo Ukamau, 1979: 111).

18. See Annette Michelson’s introduction, cited above, in Burch (1973: v-xv).

19. Solanas and Getino’s clandestine, tripartate film-manifesto La hora de los hornos (The Hour of the Furnaces, 1968) was conceived along just these lines, not as a finished and self-contained product after the fashion of mainstream cinema, but as a trigger for debate in which the spectator completed the film’s “meaning.” Most militant Latin American filmmakers of the era shared a similar notion of film spectatorship as active process rather than passive voyeurism. Sanjinés held and maintains a strong conviction that his films should be viewed and debated collectively.

20. For Sanjinés, quoting formalist critic Rudolf Arnheim, the films of the New Latin American cinema that retained their relevance over the years were those that “bewitched through their art, through the direct impact of sounds and moving forms, and not through their discourse” (Jorge Sanjinés 1999: 40). The fact that the Bolivian director quotes Arnheim here shows that his faith in abstractionism that characterized his first feature Ukamau is still very much alive; see Wood (2006).

21. The undermining of the classical relations between objectivity and subjectivity in cinematic narrative is in itself by no means an original technique: Bordwell and Thompson go on to cite examples by Fellini, Buñuel, Haneke, Resnais and Nolan that similarly present alternative narrative modes. [return to page 3]

22. For an attempt to render the polysemous Aymara and Quechua term pacha into a Spanish/Latinate framework, see Estermann (2006: 155-158). As an adjective pacha can mean “inside”; as an adverb, “immediately” or “same”; as a suffix, “all” or “whole.” As a noun it can encompass the notions “earth,” “world,” and “time.” As Estermann explains, “Pacha could also be a homomorphic equivalent of the Latin term esse (‘to be’): pacha is ‘what is,’ all that exists in the universe, ‘reality.’ It is an expression that refers to what is beyond the division between the visible and the invisible, the material and the immaterial, the earthly and the celestial, the profane and the sacred, the external and the internal” (2006: 157). For an explanation of the grammatical complexities of Andean notions of time, see Estermann (2006: 195-206).

23. Hanlon (2010) reads the use of the sequence shot in La nación clandestina, and specifically its role in uniting distinct temporalities as discussed here, as an adaptation of techniques used in Theodoros Angelopoulos’ The Travelling Players (1974).

24. As García Pabón (2001) has aptly observed regarding this scene, “what is buried is the impossibility of being Indian and being Bolivian at the same time. […] For the filmmaker, the only possible form of Bolivian nationality now is one of imagining the nation within the framework of Indian community values, within the framework of moral and cultural relations that the indigenous groups can propose to the Bolivian community.”

25. The criollo dwellers of the lowland Santa Cruz region, “unmixed descendants of the Spanish colonizer, isolated by the green wall of the rainforest from the Andean region,”(Sanjinés 1989: 65) appear to be excluded from this new “national” vision. It is interesting that, although Sanjinés here critiques the Europeanized Bolivian intelligentsia with a broad brush, his own characterization of the inhabitants of different regions of Bolivia according to topographical regional features taps into a long tradition of Bolivian thought linking landscape with national and regional traits; see Sanjinés C. (2004: 66-106).

26. Again, the rights and wrongs of such critiques of Morales’ government are beyond the scope of this essay. The ideological proximity between Sanjinés and Morales is illustrated by the president’s recent decision to personally announce the impending premiere of Sanjinés’ latest film Insurgentes, which he had viewed in a pre-screening: “Evo anuncia estreno del filme de Jorge Sanjinés,” PaginaSiete.bo, 19 April 2012. Available online at www.paginasiete.bo/2012-04-20/Cultura/
Destacados/29Cul02200412.aspx
(accessed 29 June 2012).

Works cited

Albó, Xavier (1992) “¿…Y de kataristas a mnristas? La sorprendente y audaz alianza entre aymaras y neoliberales en Bolivia". Boletín de Antropología Americana 25 (July), pp. 53-92.

Bazin, André (1967 [1950-1955]) “The Evolution of the Language of the Cinema", in What is Cinema? Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, pp. 23-40.

Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson (2008) Film Art: An Introduction (8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Burch, Noël (1973 [1969]) Theory of Film Practice. London: Secker and Warburg.

Chanan, Michael (1997 [1985]) “Rediscovering Documentary,” in Michael Martin (ed.) New Latin American Cinema, vol. 1, Theory, Practices, and Transcontinental Articulations. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, pp. 201-217.

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Deleuze, Gilles (1989 [1985]) Cinema 2: The Time-Image. London: The Athlone Press.

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Sanjinés, Jorge (1989) “El plano secuencia integral". Cine cubano 125, pp. 65-71.

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Sanjinés, Jorge and Grupo Ukamau (1979) Teoría y práctica de un cine junto al pueblo. Mexico City: Siglo Veintiuno.

--- (1989) Theory and Practice of a Cinema with the People (tr. Richard Schaaf). Willimantic: Curbstone Press.

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--- (2004b) Mestizaje Upside-Down: Aesthetic Politics in Modern Bolivia. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

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--- (2006) “Indigenismo and the Avant-garde: Jorge Sanjinés’ Early Films and the National Project.” Bulletin of Latin American Research 25.1, pp. 63-82.


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