Pushing Past the Human in Latin American Cinema

Edited by Carolyn Fornoff & Gisela Heffes

Subjects: Latin American Studies, Film Studies, Environmental Studies, Cultural Studies, Postcolonial Studies
Series: SUNY series in Latin American Cinema
Hardcover : 9781438484037, 376 pages, June 2021
Paperback : 9781438484044, 376 pages, January 2022

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Latin American Cinema Beyond the Human
Carolyn Fornoff and Gisela Heffes

Part I: Genre Beyond the Human

1. Movies on the Move: Filming the Amazon Rainforest
Patrícia Vieira

2. Visualizing the Geosphere: The 1985 Earthquake in Mexican Cinema
Carolyn Fornoff

3. Revisiting Nature and Documenting the Americas: From Alexander von Humboldt to the Contemporary Latin American Documentary
Juana New

4. Slow Violence in the Slow Cinema of Lisandro Alonso
Amanda Eaton McMenamin

Part II: Encountering Difference

5. Humanimal Assemblages: Slaughters in Latin American Left-Wing Cinema
Moira Fradinger

6. Reordering Material Hierarchies in Jossie Malis Álvarez's Animated Series, Bendito Machine
Katherine Bundy

7. Mapping Queer Natures in Papu Curotto's Esteros
Vinodh Venkatesh

8. Counterflows: Hydraulic Order and Residual Ecologies in Caribbean Fantasy Landscapes
Lisa Blackmore

9. Differential Viscosities: The Material Hermeneutics of Blood, Oil, and Water in Crude and The Blood of Kouan Kouan
Mark Anderson

Part III: Screening the Pluriverse

10. Human Rights at the End of the World: Patricio Guzmán and the "Imperative to Reimagine the Planet"
Fernando J. Rosenberg

11. Sea Turtles and Seascapes: Representing Human-Nature Relations in the Central American Caribbean
Mauricio Espinoza and Tomás Emilio Arce

12. Refracting Lenses on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua: Documenting Social Ecologies and Biospheres in El ojo del tiburón and El canto de Bosawas
Julia M. Medina

13. The Sacred Space of Motoapohua: Intercorporeal Animality and National Subjectivities in Nicolás Echevarría's Eco de la montaña
Iván Eusebio Aguirre Darancou

14. Undisciplined Knowledge: Indigenous Activism and Decapitation Resistance
Gisela Heffes


Sheds light on emergent Latin America cinema that addresses the politics of environmental destruction, the unevenness of climate change consequences, and new ways of visualizing the world beyond the human.


Pushing Past the Human in Latin American Cinema brings together fourteen scholars to analyze Latin American cinema in dialogue with recent theories of posthumanism and ecocriticism. Together they grapple with how Latin American filmmakers have attempted to "push past the human," and destabilize the myth of anthropocentric exceptionalism that has historically been privileged by cinema and has led to the current climate crisis. While some chapters question the very nature of this enterprise—whether cinema should or even could actualize such a maneuver beyond the human—others signal the ways in which the category of the "human" itself is interrogated by Latin American cinema, revealed to be a fiction that excludes more than it unifies. This volume explores how the moving image reinforces or contests the division between human and nonhuman, and troubles the settler epistemic partition of culture and nature that is at the core of the climate crisis. As the first volume to specifically address how such questions are staged by Latin American cinema, this book brings together analysis of films that respond to environmental degradation, as well as those that articulate a posthumanist ethos that blurs the line between species.

Carolyn Fornoff is Assistant Professor of Latin American Literatures and Cultures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Gisela Heffes is Associate Professor of Latin American Literatures and Cultures at Rice University.