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    Mundo Villa: Informal Settlements and Marginalization in Argentine Film

    Smyth, Alan (2018) Mundo Villa: Informal Settlements and Marginalization in Argentine Film. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Argentina’s informal settlements, commonly referred to as villas, are home to over 2 million people who are severely marginalized in Argentine society. This thesis begins by mapping the history of villas and the volatile relationship between their inhabitants and the state. It then examines the evolution of the representation of villas in an increasingly globalised film industry, showing how images of violence, drugs, prostitution and other forms of crime in these neighbourhoods have been appropriated and reappropriated to defend or denounce different governments, ideologies and regimes. Particular attention is paid to conflicting portrayals of villa inhabitants who are marginalized not only because of their socioeconomic status, but also because of their gender. These portrayals are reflective of a society that is simultaneously liberal and oppressive. Lastly, the thesis analyses the ways in which filmmakers from informal settlements respond to stigmatization and attempt to create a new vantage point from which audiences can view the crimes committed by villa residents as manifestations of their oppression and economic marginalization. Significantly, these marginal films often re-employ the images of gangs, drugs and violence seen in the mainstream. Using postcolonial theory as a framework for analysis, this research questions whether this mode of self-representation mimics damaging stereotypes and reinforces social fragmentation or rewrites the standard narrative to create a new understanding of poverty and dismantle the barriers between the villas and the rest of Argentine society. It concludes that, even though marginal cinema is often subversive in its approach, by continuing to define villa communities by their relationship to certain forms of crime, it has yet to capture the diversity within marginalized spaces and the complexity of poverty in Argentina. Signs of progression are also highlighted, however, in a discussion about filmmakers who have re-imagined their villas through the science-fiction genre. These filmmakers have empowered the economically marginalized by transforming them from victims into heroic characters, thereby establishing a new model for marginal filmmakers in Argentina and beyond.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Mundo Villa; Informal Settlements; Marginalization; Argentine Film;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures > Spanish
    Item ID: 10043
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2018 16:05

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