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The Politics of Aesthetics in Latin American and Caribbean Films.

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

The domain of humanity is very complicated, the formulation of our worlds is a manifestation to seek happiness and all happy men live in the truth. The word paradigm refers to the social construction of the world together with all the knowledge of men who seek the truth. The organizational theory of the human paradigm exists in three categories, the domain of science, religion and art. The sciences establish themselves in man with their cognitive education, the religious establish an analytical system of value and art establishes the universal or aesthetic symbols.

Art speaks directly about the aesthetic domain, it is the area of ​​human activity in which objects are recognized or attributed in the process of knowledge, socialized values ​​that are based on the opposition of opposites, the beautiful and the ugly. Aesthetic consciousness as part of social consciousness is a faculty inherent only to the human being, that allows reflecting the relationships that provoke reactions both in the sensory domain and in the spiritual domain. The process of aesthetic apprehension of man makes valuations of objects and establishes a comparison between the natural scale of objects, this creates a cultural society and allows the ability to rebound and change direction. In a very superficial way, it may seem that our planet is divided along geographical lines, but the face is social and economic, these are the real dividing factors. There are countries of the first world (United Kingdom, USA) with different social and economic fragmentation. Identity is never constant, but is always a set of layers of it; each new configuration of the same layers contains mass from the old one. In an effort to develop their countries, Europeans colonized and exploited the third world. They killed, plundered, and enslaved local pollution, took the land and disposed of its production factors to fuel the first world economy.

Europeans seeking adventure, wealth, and a new life brought with them their culture, and also that of men, considered slaves, cheap labour. With the exception of the few-isolated unworthy communities that survived the genocide, everybody in the Caribbean and Latin America has come from elsewhere. Our social identity is chaotic, a very complex hybrid of culture based on a class structure and making it impossible for us to go back to any place of origin, as it creates a kind of tension. It is this tension that manifests itself in our expression when we re-present our life. The changes in day to day shape life and finally tell the story of identity. The social changes in our counties affect, "who we are", what we feel entitled to, and dictate what society makes available to us. Most of our films tell stories of political and social protest because we live in a spiral of crisis and with art, we take the power to manifest the trends within us. Our expressions are manifestations of a rebellion against the pain we feel in our societies.

The challenge in describing the aesthetics of imperfect cinema in the Caribbean and Latin American countries is from one perspective. Our films are expressions of our search for identity, which is very difficult due to diversity, which manifests itself as a result of the interpenetration between the first world with the third, along cultural, social and economic lines. The resultant is the manifestation of the fragmented peoples who live in diverse landscapes, whose communities are at rooted in the history of the colonial experience that lead to the formation of their countries.

Alejandro Jodorowsky is a Chilean filmmaker, playwright, actor, author, musician, comic book writer, and spiritual guru. Best known for his avant-garde films, he has been revered by cult film lovers for his work that is filled with wildly surreal imagery and a hybrid mix of mysticism and religious provocation. Jodorowsky's first feature film, Fa ’Fando and Liz’ ’, is a brilliant illustration of the history of third world countries and their journey to become utopian societies. The journey of Fando and his partially paralyzed lover Liz, to find happiness, through a world of chaos, in search of a utopia where all one's wishes can be a fact of reality. Unable to find it because the lovers get corrupted and go crazy along the way.

The first scene of the film presents Liz, a beautiful young woman, pale white, strongly contrasted with her compounded eyes that never notice with the camera, but reveals a reflection of the emptiness she carries inside her. She is hungry, but gracefully ignores the bitter taste and as she lies in bed eating the petals of a rose. In our aesthetic system, the rose is not valued for its flavour, but for its visual appeal. The rose represents the abundance of nature and access to man's ability to feel pleasure just by looking at it. The feeling of hunger is not filled by the beauty of a rose, this girl like the Latin American countries yearns for something more to savour and to be satisfied with. Something outside the current scope of understanding. The need for happiness is the reflection in the actions of all men, we are all hungry in a very cystic way for beauty. The world of Fando and Liz is the chaos formed after the war of the big cities. The images are can be interpreted to metaphorically represent the process of political development in the colonization of the third world, and the move towards independence. Exploring, whether the government should go on the left or on the right; now that they will have the rights to implement their own solutions for chaos.

European capitalist exploitation is the reason why Fando and his paralyzed lover, Liz, wishes to escape to Tar. Tar's story is a utopia or society that possesses or is close to having perfect and desirable qualities. A reality that allows the manifestation of deep desires of every man. In Tar, there is the paradigm of beauty, very similar to the first world, when seen from the eyes of the ingenuity of the abandoned children who have had to build up themselves and their societies, through by playing the game of third world politics. Fando listens to music and plays with toy soldiers on his chessboard, while he reflects on his father's lessons. Which is how we get a glimpse of his character and his internal conflict. He suffers from an inherent frustration of the conditioned existence of his society's values ​​that treat him as a man, he is powerless. Her father never celebrated the ideals of Hinduism or Buddhism. He spoke of its existence to create beauty, bring out the best in the human experience, and the utopian city Tar, a place where he told his son that he could find it. Like the ingenuity of a child, he believes that upon reaching Tar, he will be cured of his impotence and have the woman of his dreams, not the paralyzed woman with whom he settled. In Tar, he will escape the cycle of life, death, pain and suffering. However, the history of this city opens up many questions about its existence, especially: why was it the only city to survive the war while the rest of the world lives in ruins?

The ideals of value in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean exist as a synthesis of the European system of values. The oppression of the fragments of other cultures was part the European exploitation, but it also unintentionally even resulted in the creation of the new world. Like children abandoned by their society, Fando has only one option, that is, travelling through a dangerous and unknown world to find utopia. The characters they meet on the road along the way, are examples of the manifestations of the complex combination of symbols that appear to be displacement but are essential aspects of the identity of Latin American and Caribbean cultural experience. The first characters Fando encounters are in a bourgeois cocktail party, listening to the music of a burning piano among rubble and decay.

It is here that Liz remembers the cause of her suffering as a girl who was exploited by these people who use their culture to attract her into their world. In exchange for money and their value system, she revealed the secrets of her world's resources and helped them build the infrastructure of their colonies. During the beginning it was a game for her, but then her kidnappers were frustrated by greed and manifested their torment against her. These kidnappers, arguing about ethics and morals, seized, raped, and left her paralyzed

In her condition, it was only Fando who welcomed her and gave her his love. Despite the fact that she does not believe in the existence of Tar, she clings to Fando; she adores him, allows his bad treatment and his helplessness. She follows him wherever he goes because she has no other choice. Fando's journey to the city he can't find, Tar, drives him crazy. His madness reaches such a point that Cinalmente kills Liz. Fando sits on his grave and dies releasing both of their sufferings. The way to Tar was in Fando's mind if only had known where to look. Or if only he would have listened to Liz, accept her love and made utopia anywhere in the beautiful mountains. He misinterpreted his father's words that spoke of Tibetan Buddhist methods founded on noble truths to overcome obstacles on the way and instead searched for a means of suppressing his suffering. Too late, he discovers, that the path to utopia is through enlightenment. The interrupted process of European production and the dissolution of meanings in Latin America and the Caribbean represents a change in anthropological barriers that once defined the space over time. This process results in the manifestation of a new aesthetic with the new identities in the world today. Which leaves me with the impression that Latin American and Caribbean countries need to understand their identities which are planted in history in order to begin a path towards utopia.

Written by Akley Olton




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