(Dis)Affection and Recognition in Millennial Urban Melodrama: Transnational Perspectives by Women Filmmakers

Catherine L. Benamou


This essay explores new directions taken by urban social melodrama directed by women in Brazil, Mexico, Iran, and Switzerland at the turn of the 21st century, a period marked by the sudden state divestment of film agencies and distribution (in Brazil and Mexico), coupled with economic instability, political scandals, and attempts at reform. Each of these countries continues to host a robust art cinema in which serious questions are posed regarding the future of the nation-state, gender relations, and the fate of those left behind, or impaired by a neoliberal development model. Rather than cast these questions in epic proportions, or bold social allegories writ large, several cineastes – Tata Amaral, Maricarmen de Lara, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, and Stina Werenfels – have chosen to focus instead on disaffection and alternative sources of recognition within intimate relationships unfolding among the working and aspiring middle classes. My comparison of their films focuses on formal attributes, characterization, uses of architecture and domestic space, and intermediality, all of which contribute to the reworking of screen melodrama while creating opportunities for new subjectivities to emerge.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22475/rebeca.v4n1.339

Direitos autorais 2016 Rebeca - Revista Brasileira de Estudos de Cinema e Audiovisual

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