The Politics of Precariousness and Resilience in Contemporary Colombian Films

  • María Helena Rueda
Part of the Global Cinema book series (GLOBALCINE)


This essay examines how a group of Colombian filmmakers, working under precarious conditions, portray the lives of vulnerable people. Óscar Ruiz Navia, with El vuelco del cangrejo (2009) and Los hongos (2014), William Vega with La sirga (2011), and César Acevedo with La tierra y la sombra (2015) all focus on characters dealing with loss or dramatic changes in their lives, caused directly or indirectly by various forms of violence. They portray individuals from marginalized Colombian communities whose ways of life have been greatly impacted by both the decades-old internal war and the neoliberalization of the country’s economy. But these characters also engage in endeavors that reveal them to be strong, determined, and proud. Building on Judith Butler’s argument that loss can open up space for creativity and agency, the chapter reflects on the dual politics of precariousness and empowerment played out in these films, weaving into this analysis an examination of the production of the films, which evidences a different kind of precariousness. Competing both nationally and internationally for funding, these filmmakers are compelled to enter into a dialogue with diverse audiences and discourses. Their response has been to work collaboratively, a strategy that has both helped them secure funding to get their films made and shaped their individual styles around a joint project. In both the films’ textuality and their making, personal and local dilemmas are intertwined with more global challenges in a space where precariousness and resilience coexist.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • María Helena Rueda
    • 1
  1. 1.Smith CollegeNorthampton, MAUSA

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