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Bilingual Aesthetics: Negotiations in between Languages

  • Egyptian Theatre 6712 Hollywood Boulevard Los Angeles, CA, 90028 United States (map)

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Ism, Ism, Ism: Bilingual Aesthetics: Negotiations in between Languages
Sunday, January 28, 2017, 7:30 pm
At the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028 Filmmaker Poli Marichal in person!

Filmforum concludes its groundbreaking series Ism, Ism,Ism: Experimental Cinema in Latin America with this critical look at cinematic investigations around issues of languages, translation, and communication. Language is a site of social, cultural and geographic agency. Hundreds of languages are spoken in Latin America, beyond the Spanish and Portuguese imposed with the Conquest. In the context of the Conquest of the Aztec Empire, the role of la Malinche, Hernán Cortéz’ translator, interpreter, and lover, was a central one, and she remains a potent and contested figure. This program explores the movement between languages as a manifestation of identitary pluralities. Unleashing the multiplication of heritage and affiliation in our contemporary landscape, these films reveal language as a will to power. In her monograph Bilingual Aesthetics the failure of language only makes language's success all the more sweet, Doris Sommer observes. This program ranges from explicit negotiations about land ownership in The Land Belongs to Those Who Work It (Chiapas Media Project, Mexico, 2005), in which the dialogue switches between Spanish and Tzeltal, to a more abstract exploration of a religious Inca celebration of change and new beginningsin Pawqartampu (Felipe Esparza, Peru, 2015). The chief of the Guarani Mimbiá tribe narrates the extinction of the Tupinambá tribe in Sérgio Péo’s Ñanderu Panorâmica Tupinambá (Brazil, 1991). Vincent Carelli and the Centro de Trabalho Indigenista have for many years used video as a tool for activism and intercultural communication in remote Amazonian regions, as the short documentary A arca dos Zo’é illustrates vividly. Mexican media artist Ximena Cuevas takes a humorous approach with a poolside language lesson for a North American tourist. The sarcastic humor of Puerto Rican artist Poli Marichal in Dilemma I: Burundanga Boricua turns the official representations of Puerto Rico as a shining star into a shining scar, combining animation, documentary footage, and hand-painted film.


Meeting Ancestors / A Arca dos Zo'é
Vincent Carelli and Dominique Gallois (Video in the Villages), 1993, 22 min., color, sound, video screened digitally, Brazil

Ñanderu Panorâmica Tupinambá  
Sérgio Péo, 1991, 8 min., color, sound, 16mm transferred to digital, Brazil. 

The Land Belongs to Those Who Work It
Chiapas Media Project, 2005, 15 min., color, sound, digital, Mexico.

Felipe Esparza, 2015, 8 min., b&w, sound, digital, Peru.
Los Angeles Premiere!

Bruno Varela, 2012, 8min., b&w/color, sound, Super8 and digital transferred to digital, Mexico.
Los Angeles Premiere!

Estamos Para Servile (We're Here to Serve You)
Ximena Cuevas, 1999, 02:40 min., color, sound, video, Mexico. 

Dilemma I: Burundanga Boricua
Poli Marichal, 1990, 18 min., color, sound, Super 8 transferred to digital, Puerto Rico.

INFO: , 323-377-7238

Tickets: $10 general; $6 students/seniors; free for Filmforum members.  Tickets available in advance at or at the door.

This screening is part of Los Angeles Filmforum’s screening series Ism, Ism, Ism: Experimental Cinema in Latin America (Ismo, Ismo, Ismo: Cine experimental en América Latina). Ism, Ism, Ism is an unprecedented, five-month film series—the first in the U.S.—that surveys Latin America’s vibrant experimental production from the 1930s through today. Revisiting classic titles and introducing recent works by key figures and emerging artists, Ism, Ism, Ism takes viewers on a journey through a wealth of materials culled from unexpected corners of Latin American film archives. Key historical and contemporary works from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, México, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the United States will be featured. Many of the works in the series are largely unknown in the United States and most screenings will include national and area premieres, with many including Q&A discussions with filmmakers and scholars following the screening. The film series will continue through January 2018 at multiple venues, organized by Filmforum.

Ism, Ism, Ism is accompanied by a bilingual publication, Ism, Ism, Ism / Ismo, Ismo, Ismo: Experimental Cinema in Latin America (Jesse Lerner and Luciano Piazza, editors, University of California Press, 2017) placing Latino and Latin American experimental cinema within a broader dialogue that explores different periods, cultural contexts, image-making models, and considerations of these filmmakers within international cinema. Available worldwide,

Ism, Ism, Ism is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Explore more at, and

Lead support for Ism, Ism, Ism is provided through grants from the Getty Foundation. 

Significant additional support comes from the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. 

Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.


This program is supported by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles. We also depend on our members, ticket buyers, and individual donors. 

Los Angeles Filmforum is the city’s longest-running organization dedicated to weekly screenings of experimental film, documentaries, video art, and experimental animation. 2018 is our 43rd year.

Coming Soon to Los Angeles Filmforum:

Jan 28 - Sun 7:30 pm - Ism, Ism, Ism: Bilingual Aesthetics: Negotiations Between Languages - at the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian
Feb 11 - Sun 7:30 - Various Positions: Works from Double Negative  - at the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian
Feb 12 - Mon 8:30 pm - Daïchi Saïto -  at REDCAT
Feb 18 - Lynne Sachs: Tip of My Tongue - at the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian
Feb 25 – Peter Burr

Memberships available, $70 single, $115 dual, or $50 single student
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