Bicycle thieves, or thieves on bicycles? El Baño del Papa (2007)

Martin-Jones, D. (2007) Bicycle thieves, or thieves on bicycles? El Baño del Papa (2007). Studies in Hispanic Cinemas, 4(3), pp. 183-198.

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El Baño del Papa provides a discussion of the degree to which the international arena is currently influencing the aesthetic of the emergent new Uruguayan cinema. El Baño del Papa appeals to both national and international audiences by constructing a realist film about poverty that is accessible to overseas audiences (its Bicycle Thieves aspect) and at the same time a story that is specific to contemporary Uruguayan audiences – the tale of a family struggling to earn a living on Uruguay’s borders (its ‘Thieves on Bicycles’ aspect). Thus El Baño del Papa appeals to international festival audiences by re-affirming previous preconceptions about Uruguay, and Latin America generally, and yet still attracts local audiences who recognise a recreation of a specific national ‘reality’. However, this is a sophisticated film which also offers the attentive viewer the chance to read its ending (which plays in a melodramatic mode) as a rejection of the very process through which films from peripheral countries can be ‘positioned’ on the world stage by the critical agendas of pre-existing cinematic distribution circuits, like that of the European film festivals.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Martin-Jones, Professor David
Authors: Martin-Jones, D.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Journal Name:Studies in Hispanic Cinemas
ISSN (Online):2040-0608

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