An Argentine Passion: Maria Luisa Bemberg and Her Films

Overview

Maria Luisa Bemberg, who died in 1995, was one of Latin America’s best known and most popular film-makers. The only woman director in the region to have achieved consistent success both nationally and internationally, she is all the more remarkable for having made her first feature at the age of fifty-eight.

Born into a traditional, aristocratic Argentine family, her late-blossoming career focused above all on women’s issues. The six films she made between 1980 and 1993 all have...

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Overview

Maria Luisa Bemberg, who died in 1995, was one of Latin America’s best known and most popular film-makers. The only woman director in the region to have achieved consistent success both nationally and internationally, she is all the more remarkable for having made her first feature at the age of fifty-eight.

Born into a traditional, aristocratic Argentine family, her late-blossoming career focused above all on women’s issues. The six films she made between 1980 and 1993 all have female protagonists who seek to transgress limits: from Camila O’Gorman, executed in the nineteenth century for her love of a Cathoolic priest, to the remarkable nun Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Mexico’s foremost colonial poet and intellectual, whose enquiring mind was a threat to the discipline of the Church. Bemberg was, as in the title of her second film, senora de nadie, nobody’s woman, someone who found her own way in a national film industry dominated by men, and who brought a new way of seeing, a distinctive visual style, to international film-making.

This is the first major study of Maria Luisa Bemberg’s work. It containes, uniquely, the views of those who worked with her—her producer, cinematographer, script writer, and actors—alongside her own comments about the film industry and her work in it. In addition to a range of Argentine, British and North American scholars offer readings of each of her films and assess her contribution to contemporary international cinema.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Everyone who worked with Maria Luisa longed to work with her again because she was such a wonderful, inspirational woman. She had great guts and she broke new ground as a director.”—Julie Christie
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Product Details

Meet the Author

John King is Professor of Latin American Cultural History at the University of Warwick.

Sheila Whitaker, who first screened Bemberg’s films in Britain, was for many years Director of the London Film Festival and Head of Programming at the National Film Theatre in London.

Rosa Bosch, well known for a wide variety of Latin American cinema programming, produced The Buena Vista Social Club and works in international film production and distribution.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Filmography
Preface
1 Maria Luisa Bemberg and Argentine culture 1
2 Working with Maria Luisa Bemberg 33
3 Intimista transformations: Maria Luisa Bemberg's first feature films 73
4 On Camila: the red, the black, and the white 110
5 Re-engendering history: Maria Luisa Bemberg's Miss Mary 122
6 Maria Luisa Bemberg's interpretation of Octavio Paz's Sor Juana 137
7 Maria Luisa Bemberg's De eso no se habla: from fiction to film, some notes 174
8 'Convocar tanto mundo': narrativising authoritarianism and globalisation in De eso no se habla 181
9 El impostor: from cuento to filmscript 193
10 Being an artist in Latin America 216
Notes on contributors 225
Index 229
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