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Argentine noir and ‘neo-noir’ subject of new book
Argentine Cinema: From Noir to Neo-Noir is the first collaboration by self-proclaimed cinephiles Spanish professor Gizella Meneses and emeritus professor of Spanish and Portuguese David George.
According to the publisher, Argentine Cinema: From Noir to Neo-Noir presents a unique history of the noir and neo-noir genre “as well as a technical, aesthetic, and socio-historical analysis” of six Argentine films: The Aura, The Secret in Their Eyes, The German Doctor, The Sign,The Naked Angel, and Kiss of the Spider Woman. All films can be checked out from the Donnelley and Lee Library at Lake Forest College.
The idea for Argentine Cinema came out of a series of casual conversations between colleagues in the modern languages and literatures department, according to Meneses. “David [George] and I are both cinephiles and we both have taught film courses. Through several conversations we got onto the topic of South American cinema and realized we had the makings of an interesting book…in the case of Argentine noir, we were intrigued by how similar they were to Hollywood noir films, yet, at the same time, so distinctly Latin American,” she said.
While much has been written about South American film, not many scholars have delved into Argentine noir in particular, says Meneses. Themes in the six films range from the psychological—existential angst and the instability of memory and morality—to the political, including Argentina’s military dictatorship (the “Dirty War”) and the role of German Nazis in post-war Argentine society.
Meneses has made several short documentaries about the Spanish-speaking immigrant experience and studied film as a secondary field while in graduate school for her PhD.
Meneses and George are planning future work on other Latin American noir and neo-noir films, including those from Mexico and Brazil.