What is the ‘silent house’? Interpreting the international appeal of Tokio Films’ Uruguayan horror La casa muda/The Silent House (Hernández, 2010)

Martin-Jones, D. and Montañez, M. S. (2019) What is the ‘silent house’? Interpreting the international appeal of Tokio Films’ Uruguayan horror La casa muda/The Silent House (Hernández, 2010). Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas, 16(1), pp. 25-47. (doi: 10.1386/slac.16.1.25_1)

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This article focuses on the micro-budget Uruguayan horror movie, La casa muda/The Silent House (Hernández, 2010), as exemplar of the difficulties that Uruguayan filmmakers face in production and (international) distribution and the innovative means that they develop to negotiate these issues. Like many Uruguayan films, La casa muda premiered internationally (at the Cannes Film Festival) and, as outlined in the article, it follows a similar aesthetic and narrative ‘backgrounding’ of the nation (the deliberate erasure of indicators of national identity, such as national monuments) to that of Uruguayan art films. Nevertheless, its production history and journey to international prominence remains rather unique. This distinction reinforces the importance of the festival circuit in facilitating the production and distribution of Uruguayan art films, but, also – as is less often discussed – the television industry and especially the Internet as counter-balances to the dominance of Hollywood’s outreach in the region. Moreover, the ‘ambiguous’ nature of the film’s narrative and iconographic content illustrates how Uruguayan filmmakers simultaneously meet, and depart from, international audience expectations. Ultimately, La casa muda is not of interest specifically for being a Latin American horror film, but because it travelled internationally using the same distribution platforms (the festival circuit, DVD release) and aesthetic strategies as many preceding Uruguayan (and Latin American) art films, only this time to confound established expectations of films travelling these routes.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Martin-Jones, Professor David
Authors: Martin-Jones, D., and Montañez, M. S.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Journal Name:Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas
ISSN (Online):2050-4845
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Intellect
First Published:First published in Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas 16(1):25-47
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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