Manifesting La Historia:
Systems of 'Development' and the New Latin American Cinema Manifesto
New Latin American Cinema both feeds into and is fed by the contentious and at times contradictory nature of Latin American culture, social politics, and economy. Manifesto documents, theoretical statements made by the filmmakers-cultural activists themselves, like the film texts, tell a story and, in so doing, recover parts of Latin America's past, its historical narrative, that oftentimes go unnoticed.1 Julianne Burton, recognizing the confluence of the filmmakers' theoretical statements and the derivation of those theories from the "concrete practice" of filmmaking "under specific historical conditions," points to a glaring omission by mainstream critical theory to account for this body of cinema, "another instance of the asymmetrical nature of cultural exchange between the developed and underdeveloped spheres" ("Marginal" 4). Zuzana Pick similarly characterizes the New Latin American manifestoes' theoretical objectives, "centered on a politics of representation grounded in the consciousness of underdevelopment" (New 18). Orientations toward "development," we shall see, become the crux of conceptualizing Latin America.
In the late 1950s, studies of underdevelopment in Latin American and Caribbean nations and the whole global region suggested that progress could only be attained through the particular types of "modern" progress acquired in the Western industrialized nations. Coincidentally, the technocratic and aesthetic dominance of Hollywood continued pushing across the Americas and the globe. The earliest manifestoes of the New Latin American Cinema address this intersection of art, social politics, and global markets through their articulations of development and revolution. In some readings, New Latin American Cinema's revolutionary resistance to imperialistic forms of development are translated as militant, invoking the violence and aggression highlighted by sensationalistic media coverage of the region; militance, however, figures into the revolutionary quality of these manifestoes as they presage the perturbation of newly-found consciousness, la conciencia, in and arising from the cultural expressions.2 This consciousness-building, far from simply emulating the socialist-state model from which the United States has cited a threat, reveals a long-standing process of democratization in the global region and particular Latin American nations. As David Williams Foster argues, in spite of the political rhetoric of the documents and paradoxes in continental character, clear correspondences exist among the position of the manifesto-writing, the need for social transformation, and the process of redemocratization in Latin America (467-8).3 As a part of this democraticizing project, these manifestoes redraw and reveal how New Latin American films depict tropes of development, sometimes in revision and revaluation of official discourses.
In this essay, I examine the function of formative New Latin American Cinema manifestoes and argue that in their reassessment of the tropes of development, the manifestoes critique dominant conceptualizations of the global region and individual countries of Latin America. The terms of these manifestoes—"Aesthetics of Hunger," "Underdevelopment," "Revolution," "Imperfect Cinema," and "Third Cinema"—are historically situated in nationalist contexts, and yet they are capable of accounting for the hetereogeniety of aesthetic and ideological aspects of the New Latin American Cinema movement, as Zuzana Pick and Coco Fusco acknowledge (Pick New 22, 56; Fusco "Reviewing" 7). Re-reading with hindsight these relatively well-known manifestoes—written by Glauber Rocha, Fernando Birri, Jorge Sanjinés, Julio García Espinosa, and Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino between 1965 and 1976—in dialogue with contemporary political contexts and prevailing social theories reveals the theoretical and aesthetic aims of New Latin American Cinema and its relationship to the culture, socio-politics, and economy of a liberal, democratically-informed Latin America.
"Developing" Latin America
A great deal of attention has been paid in the fields of sociology, anthropology, and history to the nature of poverty in certain [End Page 56] global regions and nations, so called by the United Nations "Least Developed Countries" (or LDCs). In many of these studies, a dualism suggests that the inevitability of industrialized progress confounds a romantic depiction of the nations' backwardness or primitivism. Starting in the late-1950s a wave of "modernization" swept these fields of inquiry, emphasizing the degree to which the poorer nations followed economic, socio-political, and cultural models of the richer, the more "developed," nations of the West. Particularly, Latin American countries and, as a whole, the Latin American-Caribbean global region have been conceptualized on the basis of comparison to their northern counterparts, especially in light of Eurocentric impulses in the United States. For example, key to modernization theories were essays by Talcott Parsons and W. W. Rostow that advance an universalized process of social change, modeled in large part on the scientific orientation to biological evolution, through which they reductively define the poorer nations according to their ranking on this scale. The teleology of modernizationism presumes industrial growth and a capitalist economy,4 foremost, and democratic socio-politics and culture in the stamp of the West, by extension.
In his landmark study of Mexican and Puerto Rican "subcultures of poverty" in the 1960s, Oscar Lewis claims that members of a "slum culture" fatalistically accept their displacement from the dominant, capitalist society (14-7). While acknowledging the "pressures" and "structures" a capitalistic society exerts over its members, Lewis argues that the poor adopt "mechanisms that tend to perpetuate" their alienation from mainstream culture (20-1). Modernizationism, then, places blame on those who are poor for their own poverty and concomitant socio-political and cultural values; remedy, this orientation mandates, comes in the form of in-group alterations toward the adoption of values and enterprises espoused by the dominant body. Lewis's view offers the allegory for the modernizationist macro-vision of the relationships among the First World order of nations and the developing Third World nations, particularly in the case of the United States and Latin America.
Perhaps most significantly, modernizationist studies of Latin America rely, in principle and practice, on a specialized significance for the idea of development. Development equates not only to capitalistic economic and industrial growth, but also to the more figurative and more pervasive notion of Westernization in its social and cultural structures.5 Several film manifestoes from the formative period of the New Latin American Cinema refute this modernizationist conceptualization of development in Latin America and offer alternative models of social change that rely heavily on the alliance of Latin American socio-politics, economics, and the arts. Through a reading of the manifestoes in the political contexts in which they were written, alternative social models reveal a "new" Latin America, one that is wholly different and much more contradictory and complex in nature from the diminution offered by moderniza-tionism.
Revolutionizing Latin American Film
In certain pockets throughout Latin America in the 1950s and 60s, a strong surge of political pluralism and democratization paved a way for efforts toward social and cultural activity. In Chile, the Unidad Popular (Popular Unity or UP),6 in part descendant from the socialist-labor projects from as early as the 1910s through the Popular Action Front in the 1950s, rubbed against the Christian Democrats (PDC).7 Frei's 1964 presidential victory in the name of a Chilean "revolution in liberty" mirrored similar political shifts in Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Peru,8 and Argentina, whereby post-WWII-fascism had been overrun by a contentious balance of democratic liberalism and socialism. Perhaps nowhere can this contest of political values be seen more clearly than in post-Peron Argentina (Rock 337-42). Initiated by the Frondizi administration (1958-62), Argentina found itself caught in a tangle of contradictions: reconciling state-military authoritarianism with justicialismo policy; excelerating import-substitution industrialization (ISI), while buying into the International Monetary Fund (IMF); sponsoring national independence and transcontinental interdependence. Argentine's Frondizazo, like other Latin America political philosophies from this time period, at once accepted a development [End Page 57] scheme of Western-style industrialization and First World-dependent trade that could be explained by modernizationism, while growing resistant to the oppressive dependency it required. It was in this socio-political context that the first formulations of New Latin American film theory emerged. These formulations of film thought tell a story of Latin America different than those informed by modernizationism.
Fernando Birri,9 founder of the Santa Fe Documentary School and referred to as the "Father of New Latin American Cinema," addresses the "sub-cinematography" of both Argentina and "the region of underdeveloped Latin America of which it is a part" in his manifesto "Cinema and Underdevelopment" (86). First published in 1967 in Cine Cubano10 on the heels of the military junta that gave rise to an authoritarian state unlike any experienced in Argentina since the 1940s, "Cinema and Underdevelopment" proposes a revolutionary turn in cinema, and by extension the arts and culture of Latin America. Though clearly tinged by Marxism and in defiance against the military dictatorship ruling his homeland, Birri claims that the cinema of the Latin American global region and its independent nations must resist emulating the dominant social system, which results in "a bourgeosie superstructure, semi-colonial and underdeveloped" (88). Birri reappropriates the trope of development, one that at the time of his writing is overdetermined by the modernizationist recognition of industrial and Western-style growth. On the first level of argument, Birri proposes a revolutionary cinema that may counteract the pervasive influence of Hollywood studios and U.S. ideologies that find expression in their films; but on a grander scale, Birri's claim refutes the domination of modernizationism, its conceptualizations of development, and the biases that are associated with this worldview.
Like Birri, Jorge Sanjinés11 in his "Problems of Form and Content in Revolutionary Cinema," though extrapolating at times from Bolivian nationalism, offers a global-regional view of Latin American film. Few Latin American countries experienced as politically tumultuous a period as Bolivia did following World War II. Where many of its neighbors enjoyed a resurgence of democratization politically, socially, and culturally after the fall of fascism in Germany and Italy, Bolivia (along with segments of the population in Argentina and Peru) followed its Iberian-colonialists roots and looked to the modern fascism of Spain and Portugal for a national model. As in Cuba, socio-political change was abrupt and drastic in Bolivia, evidenced by the coups of 1952 and 1964 and continuing into the 1980s. Written by Sanjinés in exile and first published in the Cuban Ojo al Cine12 in 1976, "Problems of Form and Content in Revolutionary Cinema" acknowledges this political strife and aims at an ideological coherence that, among other things, gives expression to a collective cultural identity. In this manifesto, Sanjinés speaks directly against the auteur model of dominant cinema, favoring instead the dialectical model that Tomás Gutiérrez Alea more fully realizes in his 1982 Dialéctica del Espectador/The Viewer's Dialectic.13 For Sanjinés, imbedded in this dialectic among filmmaker-collective/film text/spectator was cinema's revolutionary capability to foster growth in Latin America in an alternative social model to modernizationism.
The beginnings of Brazilian Cinema Nôvo may be interpreted through a similar historical context. Following World War II, Brazil witnessed the end of Estado Nôvo, a paramilitary, fascist regime led by Getúlio Vargas. By 1956, the political winds had changed direction in Brazil, and the moderate Juscelino Kubitschek was elected through his alliances to both the Partido Social Democrático (PSD) and the Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro (PTB). Brazil faced contradictions similar to its Latin American neighbors, though: namely, its national ideology pivoted on developmentalist-nationalism, an economic policy that influenced other facets of Brazilian society and culture, while striving to maintain national independence (Skidmore 164-70). Where modernizationist treatments of Brazil tend to underestimate this contradictory impulse in its national character, Glauber Rocha's14 film theory characterizes the significance of its revolutionary quality, especially as the arts are allied to socio-politics.
"An Aesthetics of Hunger" remains the most often cited Latin American film manifesto and offers profound insight to the formative period of New Latin American Cinema and the society out of which it arose. Like Birri and Sanjinés, Rocha acknowledges the importance of national character, Brazilian nationalism, alongside the transcontinental dynamics of the Latin American-Caribbean global region (59). For Rocha, cinema transcends romantic perspectives of art and must, like a manifesto document itself, address relevant social politics (qtd in Johnson Cinema 120). First published in Revista Civilizacão Brasileira15 in 1965, "An Aesthetics of Hunger" serves as a threshold between what Randal Johnson has described as the earliest phase of Cinema Nôvo, marked by the end of totalitarian rule and a short-lived "radical transformation" toward liberal democracy in Brazilian society, and the later phases, which witnessed a revival of harshly repressive, military-backed authoritarian rule (Johnson Cinema 2-3, 119). Like Birri's "Cinema and Underdevelopment," Rocha's manifesto falls in between the optimistic moment of democratization and its demise at the hands of military-led juntas. And yet, "An Aesthetics of Hunger" advances a reconceptualization of development that overturns the prevailing modernizationism of its time through notions of revolution and predicts the political shift to globalization in Latin America by century's end.
A number of threads bind these three early manifestoes together, especially in terms of their manner for redressing the trope of development. Perhaps most significantly, each takes a turn at advancing a socially radical form of revolution that avoids aggression and combines art and politics, highlighting cinematic investments in and uses of development tropes.
Rocha's "An Aesthetics of Hunger" is also known as "an [End Page 58] aesthetic of violence," from the idea, not of inciting violence but rather, of recognizing the "violence" that has befallen the citizens of Latin America as a result of their social circumstances; that is, an "aesthetics of hunger" sheds light on the cognitive dissonance between Latin American needs for dependency and independence. Somewhat ironically, Rocha acknowledges Latin America's displacement from and dependency on so-called "civilized" cultures of the First-World order, a heritage, he argues, that is an imposed "colonial conditioning" and "domination" (59). From their displacement, Latin Americans feel a "national shame" that the First World may ignore completely or may understand only as an "aesthetic" or formal quality, "um dado formal," and a sort of "tropical surrealism"/"um estranho surrealismo tropical" that seemingly defies Western logic ("Esthetic" 59-60; "Estética" 165, 168). Rocha advises Latin American filmmakers and viewers to reverse the violence of their social circumstance through an "intellectually understood" and "revolutionary" sense of consciousness: "From a moral position...[t]he love that this violence emcompasses is as brutal as the violence itself because it is not a love of complacency or contemplation but rather a love of action and transformation"/"De uma moral...[o] amor que esta violência encerra é tão brutal quanto a própia violência, porque não é um amor de complacência ou de contemplação, mas um amor de ação e transformação." ("Esthetic" 60; "Estética" 169). Cinema Nôvo, then, uses art to reveal and help replace with "truth" the "untruth and exploitation" of commercial industry, both in cinema as well as in other facets of Latin American society; interestingly, Rocha recognizes the "economic and industrial integration" inherent to cinema and admits that revolutionary cinema depends on this integration. The revolution that Rocha advocates raises ethical questions about "freedom" in defiance of forms of domination—economic, socio-political, and cultural—that stand at the base of modernizationism.
The idea of revolution for Sanjinés, while evoking the gravitas of a junta through figurative word choice, results from the audience's dialectical relationship with the film's message, bringing to life a "militancia"/"fresh militancy" that can be used "como de una arma"/"like a weapon" ("Problemas" 63; "Problems" 64). Sanjinés makes clear, though, that the revolutionary cinema he advocates seeks beauty as a means to "revealing truth" and the essence, "the love," of humanity: "el cine revolucionario debe buscar la belleza no como objetivo sino como medio...capaz de penetrar en la verdad" ("Problems" 62; "Problemas" 57-8). Sanjinés vehemently attacks bourgeoisie values, but he also shows favor for wide distribution and the economic support it provides to revolutionary filmmakers, suggesting that it is not the capitalistic values themselves but rather the dominant and exclusionary nature of First World capitalism that has historically detracted from Latin America's economic growth. This relationship, which Sanjinés describes for cinema as "vertical," maintains the modernizationist notion of development, similar to the monopolistic control the vertically-integrated studio-based film industry as well as other corporate-conglomerate internationals have enjoyed world-wide. Revolution, then, for Sanjinés amounts to the "proceso de descrubimiento"/"process of discovery" of watching and making films; discovery allows a kind of development that refutes the biased modernizationistic orientation ("Problemas" 64; "Problems" 65).
Perhaps even more explicitly than Rocha and Sanjinés, Fernando Birri redraws the trope of development through the "consciousness" that "develops" the peoples of Latin America (86). Similarly, Birri pleads for the adoption of non-violent means of social revolution, for example, through the humanistic benefits of the arts: a cinema "which awakens consciousness ...which helps the passage from underdevelopment to development, from sub-stomach to stomach, from sub-culture to culture, from sub-happiness to happiness, from sub-life to life" (86-7). Like Rocha, Birri claims that a revolutionary consciousness helps to alleviate the "misunderstanding" that "always comes about by applying analytical schemes imposed by foreign colonialists"; while attacks go against oligarchy and bourgeois values at the national-state level and imperialism and colonialism at the international level, the main culprit is the methodological orientation that explains and defends domination over Latin America such as modernizationism (87). In fact, Birri advocates a distribution-and-exhibition strategy that borrows from capitalism, where box-office receipts and profitability of a film reflect its commitment to the revolutionary cause of awakening consciousness in its audience; profitability should not, however, be prioritized over the accessibility of the film message to a working class audience (91, 92-3). Like his fellow manifesto-writers, Birri makes clear that the purpose behind the "new cinema" of Latin America was to create a "new history," one that has eluded mainstream views, blinded by the domination of modernizationism (87). These three early manifestoes, then, depict aspects of Latin America's history that have been neglected or palliated by academic studies.
Just as the formative Latin American film manifestoes revealed the shortcomings of the modernizationist conceptualizations of Latin American development, revisionist studies in the fields of sociology, anthropology, and history paid closer attention to the manner in which Latin American narratives conceived of the nations and the region. Critics of modernizationism shifted attention (and blame) away from the poorer nations themselves and more directly to the relationship that poorer nations shared with their richer counterparts. In an almost immediate response to the academic theories of modernizationism, the U.N.'s Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA)16 in the 1950s pointed to the unfair and unequal terms of trade between the Latin American nations and their richer counterparts. The academy equally responded by the 1960s in [End Page 59] the form of the dependency theory, which advocated the poorer nations by revealing the extent to which richer nations benefited from them within a capitalist global marketplace. In particular, left-leaning revisionists such as Andre Gunder Frank pointed to the ethnocentric bias of prevalent conceptions of development and the dependency that Latin American nations had to the United States, both of which were inherent to the modernizationist paradigm. In direct refutation of Rostow's growth-stages model, Frank suggests that the modernizationist definition of development has ignored the actual history of growth in Latin American countries (45); moreover, the dependency of these Latin American countries within the globally extended capitalist system more firmly entrenches them in economic and, by extension, political, social, and cultural need of and subordination to the First World (13-5). According to the dependency theorist revision, the developed nations' economies required undeveloped countries, and it was through exploitation of the poorer nations' markets and raw resources and consumption by the poorer nations' of high-cost import goods that the First World became fully "developed," in modernizationist terms. It was easy work for dependency theory to tie the Iberian-colonial history of Latin America to its modern economic, political, social, and cultural oppression at the hands of the imperialistic First World.
Arising from the dependency theorists' closer examination of the relationships between and among the more and less developed nations, world-system theory emerged in the early 1970s and continues to drive forward into the most recent studies on globalization and transnationalism. Where dependency theory favored a highly descriptive function, in large part reactionary to the modernization theories, world-system theory applied quantitative and comparative research methodologies,17 yielding more effectively scientific explanations for the Third World's growth patterns (Roberts 14). Rather than presuppose national growth as part of an universalized and historicized evolution as the modernizationists and dependency theorists previously had done,18 world-system theorists consider the growth of nation-states and global regions as both independent and system-integrated processes. Though more firmly bound in some cases by the conventions of empirical epistemologies, world-system theories reevaluate development, the keystone to studies of poorer nations, positing it as a characterization of the world-systemic process.
Leading the academic thrust of world-system theory, Immanuel Wallerstein in his groundbreaking The Modern World-System set forth four postulates.19 First, building off the class dichotomy of dependency theory, nations can be classified as central, peripheral, and semi-peripheral, the last being an intermediary zone for nation-states sharing characterizations of the two former. Second, also borrowing from the dependency camp, the terms of trade between poorer countries and the First World order have been unfair and unequal. Third, synthesizing the first two postulates, understanding the positioning of a nation-state necessitates understanding its independence from the system in coordination with the workings of the whole system. And fourth, mirroring economic cycles are secular trends, including the polarization of world classes. In The Capitalist World-Economy Wallerstein cites three main mechanisms—military strength, pervasive ideology, and semi-peripheral mobilization—through which the First World order has maintained a relative domination in the system (22-3). Wary of other world-system theorists' tendency toward depoliticizing national and international power relations, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, like Wallerstein, acknowledges imperialism's translation into state institutions and its subsequent hold on Latin America. Cardoso strives to re-define the conceptualization of development in Latin America, based on analysis of the "will to revolutionize" and the resulting "new patterns of capital accumulation": "These changes demand a reappraisal of emergent structures and their main tendencies...they are marked enough to warrant a major modification of the established analyses of capitalism and imperialism" ("Towards" 299, "Dependency" 87). Similar to Wallerstein's third postulate, Cardoso proposes a post-structuralist, meta-systemic approach to examine the interrelationships among Latin American countries and others parts of the world.
The paradigmatic shift in Cardoso, Wallerstein and other world-system theorists, not only in terms of defining development for Latin American and Caribbean nations and the global region but also in terms of the methodological approach, is mirrored in the statements made by filmmakers in the New Latin American Cinema documents. Similar to the methodological turn in world-system orientations, the formative New Latin American film manifestoes deconstruct the power relations among Latin American countries and their counterparts throughout the world to reveal contemporaneously an awareness of the entire culture-system and its valences along side an awareness of the socio-politics that are allied to cinema's values. Reading the formative New Latin American Cinema manifestoes in the political contexts in which they were written reveals a reversal of the binary positionings traditionally established between Latin America and the First World order in film, but also in economics, socio-politics and culture more broadly.
Reconstructing Latin American Film History
Perhaps no two nations reveal the dichotomous and contradictory nature of modern Latin America as Cuba and Mexico do, both living in the shadow of their big-brother United States. Since the 1930s, Mexico has experienced constitutional stability in its multi-party politics unmatched in Latin America. Although the official party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), has earned the reputation for beaurocratic authoritarianism, corruption, and "boss" politics, it is a moderate body, winged on the far [End Page 60] left by the Partido Popular Socialista (PPS) and by the Partido de Accíon Nacional (PAN) on the right (Barkin 4). Along with the larger Latin American nations, Mexico has invested its initiatives in import-substituting industrialization (ISI), and likewise found itself by the end of the 1960s perilously reliant on the First World order with steady, if only slight, economic gains and a dramatic polarization between upper and lower classes; perhaps more than any other Latin American country, Mexico saw that there are limits to capitalist dependency.20 And yet, over the course of the last century, Mexico has grown into a democratic nation, not in the sort of modernizationist evolutionary process of industrialization and Westernization, though, but in its placement alongside similar nations in the world-system marketplace.
On the opposite end of this spectrum, Cuba has been an anomaly among the Americas: Spanish colony as late as 1889; agricultural export-based economy; socialist revolution in 1959 against a legacy of dictatorship in the names of Machado and Batista. As a protectorate of the United States in the first half of the century, Cuba fell prey to caudillismo and political corruption, which did little to prevent unemployment, widespread poverty, and overall harsh living standards. Fidelistas made small gains in terms of social welfare and distribution of wealth, but Cuba suffered over the long haul from both Soviet dependence and its single export-based economy. As evident by the fall of world-wide communism, the loss of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) trade bloc, and the mass exoduses of Cuban nationals to the United States since the revolution, socialism has proven to be a failed experiment in Cuba.21 Like Mexico, Cuba centralized its economic initiatives; Mexico was peripheralized by the United States, Europe, and Japan, as Cuba was to the Soviet Union. Socio-politics and culture followed the economic path of dependence, though in radically different directions for each, Cuba and Mexico. This context of diametrically opposed American political schemes provides a framework through which may be read the formative New Latin American Cinema manifestoes, particularly Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino's "Towards a Third Cinema" and Julio García Espinosa's "For an Imperfect Cinema."
Of the five formative manifestoes examined in this article, Espinosa's22 appears the least ideologically-conflicted and most explicitly Marxist. First published in Cine Cubano23 in 1970 at the up-swing of a romantic revival in socialist-national policy, "For an Imperfect Cinema" embraces the enthusiasm of Castro's idealism. Significantly, though, revolutionary cinema for Espinosa must negate the prevailing aesthetics of mainstream cinema and, in so doing, erase the implicit boundaries between the arts that appeal to social-class distinctions, passed down through Eurocentric tradition. Espinosa's target is the democratization of American art that results from spectatorial participation and mass consumption of films ("For" 75-7). Like Sanjinés, Espinosa claims that the dialectical relationship between a revolutionary film and its spectators can awaken a sense of "consciousness"/"conciencia" ("For" 73; "Por" 47). And since "aesthetic"/"estético" concerns are inherently tied to "ethics"/"ordenétetico," the revolutionary turn in cinema will help to instigate a larger socio-political and cultural transformation as well ("For" 71; "Por" 46). However, as we shall see in the Solanas-Getino manifesto, at the root of the consciousness fostered by "an Imperfect Cinema" is a post-structuralist reversal of traditional power relations.
In "Towards a Third Cinema," first published in the Cuban Tricontinental24 in 1969 and remaining the most critically significant Latin American film manifesto, Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino25 propose a "cinema of liberation" for Latin America and other Third World nations. Their subtitle, "Notes and Experiences for the Development of a Cinema of Liberation in the Third World," invokes the function seen in all the formative New Latin American Cinema manifestoes: to examine and critique notions of development, especially as they are imposed by First World order nations. Revolutionary films, as part of a culture of "decolonization"/"la descolonización de la cultura," reveal "an overall dependence that generates models and values born from the needs of imperialist expansion"/"una dependencia global genereadora de modelos, y valores nacidos de las necesidades de la expansion imperialista" ("Towards" 37; "Hacia" 116). While clearly favoring Cuban socialism, Solanas and Getino claim that the struggle of revolutionary cinema in Latin America targets a centralized system, acknowledging both independent nations, the global region, and the holistic model of the world as a culture-system itself ("Towards" 39-40). Like Cardoso, Wallerstein, and other world-system social theorists, Solanas and Getino recognize the multiple valencies of the system and its constituent parts operating in a process.
Solanas and Getino argue that revolutionary art must resist the mainstream, the dominant social system, which conceptualizes "culture, art, science, and cinema as univocal and universal terms [that] always respond to conflicting class interests"/ "la cultura, la ciencia, el arte, el cine como terminus unívoccos y universals [que] responden siempre a los interes de clases en conflicto" ("Towards" 35; "Hacia" 109). Similarly, Espinosa claims that revolutionary art "gives us a vision of society or of human nature and that, at the same time, it cannot be defined as a vision of society or of human nature. It is possible that a certain narcissisim of consciousness—in recognizing in oneself a little historical, sociological, psychological, philosophical consciousness—is implicit in aesthetic pleasure" ("Towards 73). This "consciousness"/"conciencia" engendered within the spectator espouses a critique of official discourses of domination and inspires essentially democratic individualism.
Like the contradictory impulses in Mexico's and Cuba's economy, socio-politics, and culture, there is a dissemination, a [End Page 61] plurality of meanings, built into conceptualizations of the Americas, as a whole, the global region of Latin America, and independent Latin American and Caribbean nations. Where formative New Latin American film theories by Rocha, Sanjinés, and Birri redressed the ideas of development, Espinosa's "For an Imperfect Cinema" and Solanas and Getino's "Towards a Third Cinema" particularly critique the epistemological models at work in defining Latin America, revealing the arbitrariness of the system in which potentially multiple forms of knowledge can be constructed.
Both "For an Imperfect Cinema" and "Towards a Third Cinema" valorize revolutionary cinema precisely through their decentralization of culture and, by extension, socio-politics and state nationalism. In a similar methodological approach to the world-system theorists, the Espinosa and Solanas-Getino theoretical approaches recognize the larger context of world cinema in which Latin America's "third cinema" project fits. Revolution and revelation breed a new sense of consciousness in viewers of New Latin American films; where for Rocha, Sanjinés, and Birri this allows a redeployment of tropes of development, in the theories of Espinosa and Solanas and Getino, this settles disputes among the battling significations within New Latin American cinema and the larger contradictory social patterns in the global region. Militancy in each of the manifestoes substitutes the actual physical aggression found throughout the world with the figuratively brutal but ultimately constructive provocation of revelation. The inclination to read the New Latin American Cinema manifestoes as militant and revolutionary in line with the socialist movements in Latin America is reductive, resulting in a singular voiced "historiographical fiction" of Latin America that Coco Fusco and B. Ruby Rich among other scholars reprove (Fusco "Reviewing" 7; Rich 277). Rather, the sorts of revolution and militancy that the filmmakers proffer fits more closely within the humanist tradition, through an alliance of the arts to social politics and culture in the 1960 and 1970s.
Since the 1980s, Latin American film markets have continued to suffer as a result of Hollywood's seemingly endless line of blockbusters with substantial financial backing, wide-spread distribution, and globally recognizable star-actors.26 And yet, film and video producers in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela have created a niche for themselves, both nationally and internationally, while Chile, Columbia, and Peru have eked out small-scale production platforms. At once, re-reading these manifestoes, written between 1965 and 1976, historicizes the capitalist-imperialist theories of development and dependency in Latin American culture. Moreover, as video, cable, and television markets continue to open up today throughout the Latin American global region, an historical vantage of the New Latin American Cinema must critically examine the extent to which economic, socio-political, and cultural models benefited Hollywood's studio-based film industry to the detriment of local and state-run companies.27 Mediated globalization has taken advantage in the shifts toward democracy, and, as a result, cultural expressions in film as well as critical scholarship on these expressions contest traditionally bound notions of identity in terms of ethnicity, race, and nationality.28 Considering the formative New Latin American Cinema manifestoes and their critique of "modern" conceptions of Latin America relates aspects of the global region's (hi)story that have been left untold and provides insight to the operative methods of revolution and development in Latin America.