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Transitional Justice in Post-Dictatorship South American Film


This dissertation considers theory from the field of Memory Studies to compare the relationships between transitional justice, cultural production, and discourses on state terror and human rights. The most recent civic-military dictatorships in Brazil (1964-1985), Uruguay (1973-1985), and Argentina (1976-1983) remain unresolved histories in the collective imaginaries of each country. The fields of literary and media studies often point to the cultural production that represents this period as contributing to the construction of memory, and, therefore, against impending oblivion. My dissertation moves beyond the binary logic of remembrance and oblivion to analyze the ways in which cultural production shapes our understanding of the dictatorships and their aftermath. Chapter 1, “The Survivor on Screen: Film in Post-dictatorship Brazil,” focuses on the films Que bom te ver viva (L�cia Murat, 1989), A��o entre amigos (Beto Brant, 1998), and Hoje (Tata Amaral, 2011) to understand the extent to which they reinforce or reject the notion that the only people affected by the dictatorship were the militants who took up arms against the regime. Chapter 2, “Unfinished Stories: Film in Post-Dictatorship Uruguay,” analyzes the films Zanahoria (Enrique Buchichio, 2014), Matar a todos (Esteban Schroeder, 2007), and Secretos de lucha (Maiana Bidegain, 2007), which all depict the past as unresolved. Each of these films has an inconclusive ending, implying that Uruguayan transitional justice is yet to come. Chapter 3, “Towards Inclusive Victimhood and Memory: Post-dictatorship Film in Argentina,” analyzes Cautiva (Gast�n Biraben, 2003), Los Rubios (Albertina Carri, 2003), and Buenos Aires Viceversa (Alejandro Agresti, 1996) as examples of works that challenge the canonized memories of the dictatorship as well as the widely accepted notions of victimhood, pushing for the consideration of traditionally excluded subjectivities. This chapter addresses the intergenerational struggle over memory and the victims of economic crises in the post-dictatorship. This dissertation investigates the impact that political and legal frameworks have on filmmaking, on storytelling, and on how the past is remembered, contributing to research on the intersection between memory studies, transitional justice, and the cultural field.

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