1. Sources in English include a brief mention in John King’s Magical Reels, a section of Chuck Kleinhans and Julia Lesage’s report from the Havana Film Festival in 1986 and a film guide by Pat Aufderheide. Sources in Spanish are article-length pieces by Ricardo Bedoya and José Luis Ramos Salinas. These scholarly sources are complemented by numerous interviews, reviews, and articles in periodicals.

2. As is common with research on film groups of this nature, my research has included screenings of Chaski’s films and readings of published work on them, but it has also been shaped by contact with members of the group itself. While on a Fulbright to Lima, Peru, in 2003, I had the opportunity to interview three of the founding members of Chaski (Stefan Kaspar, Alejandro Legaspi, and María Barea), one of the early additional members of the group (Susana Pastor), and the two leading actors of their feature films (Marino Leon and Rosa Isabel Morfino). I was also given access to their archives and internal documents, most of which had never circulated publicly. Stefan Kaspar was extremely generous with his time and with offering news clippings and other documents that helped me to trace the history of Chaski. After I returned to the U.S., I maintained email contact with Kaspar, Legaspi, and Pastor, who continued to share important information and documents with me.

3. When I was in Lima in 2003, all former members of Chaski whom I interviewed considered the group to no longer exist. In contrast, their website states that they have worked continuously since 1982.
In a sense both versions are true, since no film projects carried the group’s name from 1991-2003, but Kaspar’s work regarding distribution and production continued tirelessly. In 1992 after the waning of Chaski, he founded Casablanca Latin Films, a project that focused on distributing Latin American (largely Peruvian) features and documentaries. He also worked as a producer during this period, most notably associate producing the award-winning documentary Choropampa in 2001 that traces the devastation wrought by a mercury spill on a small rural town in Peru. In 2003 he started the Fundación Cine Latino, which later led to the resurgence of Chaski and the microcines project. Legaspi had also continued to work in documentary films during this period. His reconnection with Kaspar for the documentary Sueños Lejanos (Distant Dreams) indicates Chaski’s return to the full range of its former activities.

4. Legaspi indicated that they dissolved in part due to having grown too large (“Homenaje;” 3).

5. All of the current members of their advisory board were active participants in Chaski in the 1980s
There are now a number of younger members involved in various aspects of Chaski’s organization, including Paola Reategui and Renzo Reyes, key organizers of the microcines project.

6. All translations are mine.

7. Espinoza died of a heart attack on July 21, 2002 while filming the last scenes of a documentary on the role of African descendents in Peru. Titled “El Quinto Suyo” (Their Fifth One), the film references the Incan empire’s division into four geographic and political regions. The film’s goal is to add a fifth region to this story, one “en el que los Afroperuanos nos incluimos como parte de la historia del Perú, porque nosotros... también tenemos una historia que contar”(“in which Afro-peruvians include ourselves in the history of Peru because we … also have a story to tell”).

8. Barea has continued to be an active feminist filmmaker and has worked with Women Make Movies. In 1989, she co-founded the women's film group 'WARMI Cine y Video', with which she produces and directs documentaries. Her films incluye Andahuaylas - suenen las campanas (1987), Porcon (1989/92), Porque quería estudiar (1990), Barro y Bambu (1991), Antuca (1992) and Hijas de la guerra (Daughters of War; 1998).

9. Hegemony and subalternity are concepts that flow throughout Chaski’s texts.

10. René Weber mentions that Chaski members needed to take additional security measures in April of 1989 after two articles published in the Sendero paper El Diario accused Chaski of producing a bourgeois culture for export that was not dignified to be consumed by the masses (9). According to Weber, after these two articles appeared the members often worked in fear.

11. Terms like “reality” may be out of fashion in some circles today, but it is important to note that for Chaski the capturing of reality has been an essential part of their effort. Given the distortions emanating from official discourse and the mass media, they feel a tremendous need to correct the prevalence of these misrepresentations with versions of the practical details of everyday life of the marginalized majority. In the struggle for representational politics, Chaski has viewed their work as both a corrective to official distortions and as a revelation to social sectors that only appear on screen as caricatures or stereotypes.

12. This law is no longer in effect today. A new law was passed several years ago to promote Peruvian filmmaking, but it has yet to be put into effect. At the time of writing, Peru has no state mechanism in practice that supports Peruvian filmmaking.

13. Another important influence on Peruvian cinema was that of Armando Robles Godoy, but his auteur style had less impact on the work of Chaski.

14. From 1972-1985 Peru averaged about two feature films and 66 shorts per year. Their film production was one of the lowest in Latin America.

15. In an internal document written in 1986 that explains why they were formed Chaski specifically references the impact of Law 19327 and the way that the films supported by the law were precursors to their work (1).

16. Francisco Lombardi is the most internationally recognized Peruvian director. He shoots in a realist style and his films are often adaptations of novels. His filmography can be viewed here:

17. For more on this line of argument see García Canclini’s Consumers and Citizens.

18. For a list of their current sources of support see:

19. While Sanjinés and Rada were editing The Courage of the People in Italy, Bolivia suffered a coup that forced them into exile, split the group, and censored the film. Once in exile Sanjinés continued to work on collective film projects under the banner of Ukamau and his most recent film was released in 1995 but the continuity of the film collective was disrupted by the fact that within Bolivia another group, also using the name Ukamau, continued to work as well.[return to page 2]

20. Sanjinés identifies two major moments in Ukamau’s filmmaking: first a period of denunciation and political confrontation and second, after the opening of democracy, a moment for films that explore problems of identity (Interview with Mondaca; n.p.).

21. Legaspi specifically mentions the work of Lombardi as an example of the types of films he has no interest in making (“Reflexiones;” 2).

22. See links to these sites in part 3.

23. Karen Ranucci of the now defunct Latin American Video Archive (or LAVA) explained in a conversation with me that she had long tried to convince Sanjinés to distribute his work on video, but that he was reluctant to do it.

24. While this term does not appear directly in their work, they repeatedly emphasize the theme of survival as central to their project. One of their most popular series of documentaries is entitled “retratos de sobrevivencia” (“portraits of survival”). It would be interesting to consider Chaski’s aesthetic of survival in relation to Glauber Rocha’s aesthetic of hunger.

25. Both of these terms appear in various Chaski documents. My analysis will reflect their version of these concepts and elaborate on them as well.

26. Given their budget it is likely these are actually shot from apartment rooftops, balconies, etc.

27. In an intertext with these scenes their new documentary Sueños lejanos opens with a scene where two men watch a documentary of themselves as boys that Chaski shot in the 1980s called “Encuentro de hombrecitos” “Encounter with Little Men”).[return to page 3]

28. The bildungsroman is a type of novel that narrates the social formation and transition of a child into an adult. It often tells of a loss of innocence and describes the tension between social norms and the development of an individual personality. The protagonists typically have to overcome a series of obstacles. The form is common in films with the films of the character Harry Potter as a recent example.

29. Kleinhans and Lesage explain that “the film quite clearly does not set these actions up as deplorable examples of lumpen proletariat degeneracy, but frankly portrays them as justifiable minor pleasures of those at the bottom of the capitalist pile who must live by their wits and daring.”(n.p.). In contrast, Ramos Salinas reads these scenes as formulaic condemnations of the city as the source of all evil.

30. The film has been compared by Bedoya to Oliver Twist (277).

31. It is important to note that my reading of these aesthetics contrasts those of Ramos Salinas who considers Gregorio to further stereotypes.

32. See for example the site for Cinencuentro (Filmencounter)
and the blog for the independent movie house, the Cinematografo, in the Barranco district of Lima,
both of which regularly cover the activities of Chaski. There is a two part interview with Alejandro Legaspi posted by Cinencuentro on the Daily Motion site:
View their promotional video about the microcines project here:

[return to page 4]

Works cited

Aufderheide, Patricia. “Gregorio.

Bedoya, Ricardo. 100 años de cine en el Perú: Una historia crítica. Lima, Peru: Universidad de Lima, 1992.

Carpio, Oswaldo. “Cine Comunicación y Cultura: La experiencia del Grupo Chaski.” 1990. Unpublished.

Chaski Informa. 1 (1988).

García Canclini, Néstor. Consumers and Citizens: Globalization and Multicultural Conflicts. Trans. and Intro. George Yúdice. Minneapolis, MN: U Minnesota P, 2001.

---. La globalización imaginada. Buenos Aires: Editorial Paidós, 1999.

García-Pabón, Leonardo. “The Clandestine Nation: Indigenism and national subjects of Bolivia in the films of Jorge Sanjinés.” Trans. Maura Furfey. Jump Cut 44 (2001):

Grupo Chaski. “Experiencia de siete años de trabajo del Grupo Chaski.” 1989. Unpublished.

Grupo Chaski. “Experiencias de seis años de trabajo del Grupo Chaski.” 1988. Unpublished.

Grupo Chaski. “Grupo Chaski.” 1986. Unpublished.

Grupo Chaski. Website: www.grupochaski.org.

Kaspar, Stefan. “El cine Chaski.” 1990. Unpublished.

King, John. Magical Reels: A History of Cinema in Latin America. New York: Verso, 1990.

Kleinhans, Chuck and Julia Lesage, “Havana Film Festival Report: New Latin American Cinema.” Jump Cut 31 (1986): 70-71.

Legaspi, Alejandro. “Homenaje a Fernando Espinoza.” Text of speech delivered to Peruvian Congress. September 2002.

---. Interview with Rafael Arévalo. Cinencuentro. Lima, Peru. 11 September 2007.

---. “Reflexiones sobre el cine.” 1990. Unpublished.

Legaspi, Alejandro and Grupo Chaski. “Proyecto: Sueños Lejanos.” 2005. Unpublished.

Martín-Barbero, Jesús. Communication, Culture and Hegemony: From the Media to Mediations. Trans. Elizabeth Fox and Robert A. White. London: Sage, 1987

Mesa Falcón, Yoel. “Entrevista a Jorge Sanjinés.” El Onceno Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano de La Habana: Tres Opiniones. Temas, Suplemento 2. La Habana: Ministerio de Cultura, 1990.

Laura Mulvey "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema." Screen 16.3 (1975): 6-18.

Pick, Zuzana. The New Latin American Cinema: A Continental Project Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993.

Pitteloud, Anne. “Le Pérou à l`écran.” (Interview with Stefan Kaspar.) Le Courrier 8 November 2002.

Reategui, Paola. “Red de microcines: Los primeros años.” May 2007. Unpublished.

Ramos Salinas, José. “La estereotipia en el cine peruano: el caso de la película 'gregorio' del grupo 'chaski.'”Monografías.com. 1997. Accessed 15 November 2001.

Sanjinés, Jorge. Interview with Diego A. Mondaca. Rebelión 21 December 2003.

---. Teoría y práctica de un cine junto al pueblo. Mexico: Cerro del Agua, 1979.

Solanas, Fernando and Octavio Getino. “Towards a Third Cinema.” In New Latin American Cinema, Michael Martin, ed. Detroit: Wayne State Press, 1997. 33-58.

Weber, René. "La pared que habla: La fascinante experiencia de la difusión popular del Grupo Chaski." Butaca Sanmarquina 1.2 (1987): 8-9.

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