Ism, Ism, Ism / Ismo, Ismo, Ismo: Opening at the REDCAT, September 22-24

In partnership with the Los Angeles Filmforum and as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA series, we are pleased to announce the launch of Ism Ism Ism: Experimental Film in Latin America (Ismo Ismo Ismo: Cine Experimental en América Latina), a multi-part screening series featuring key works of experimental, time-based media made in Latin America and by Latin American artists. The exhibition will take place as a series of sixteen curated screenings, hosted in a combination of screening venues, museums, galleries and community spaces located throughout Southern California. Screenings will take place from September 2017 until January 2018.

The opening weekend, hosted by REDCAT, will run from Friday, September 22 to Sunday, September 24th.

Be sure to check out UC Press’ accompanying bilingual catalogue, Ism, Ism, Ism / Ismo, Ismo, Ismo: Experimental Cinema in Latin America.

Revisiting classic titles and introducing new works by key figures and emerging artists, Ism, Ism, Ism takes viewers on a journey through a wealth of materials culled from forgotten corners of Latin American film archives. REDCAT’s opening weekend includes a panel with curators and scholars and six film programs: Latin American surrealist shorts, films made in Southern California by Latinas and Latin American women, a solo presentation by veteran Chicano filmmaker Willie Varela, “camera-less” films by artists from several countries, documents of diverse countercultural movements, and revelatory shorts regarding revolutionary icon Che Guevara.

Contact sheet from La Langosta Azúl (1954). Álvaro Cepeda Samudio, Enrique Grau Araújo, Luis Vicens, and Gabriel García Márquez.

Kicking off in September 2017 and running through January 2018 throughout Southern California, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Led by the Getty, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is a joint effort from more than 60 cultural institutions across the region, and UC Press is thrilled to be publishing three books in conjunction with this unprecedented collaboration.

Learn more about UC Press’ Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA titles here.


50 Years Ago in New York City: Latin American Cinema at LASA 2016

By Paul A. Schroeder Rodríguez, author of Latin American Cinema: A Comparative History

2016 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Latin American Studies Association, the largest organization of Latin Americanists in the world. Appropriately, the meeting is taking place in New York City, site of the initial congress, with the theme “LASA at 50.” In keeping with this theme and this place, the Film Studies Group and the Visual Studies Group organized a screening of “The Life, Death and Assumption of Lupe Vélez” at The Film-Makers’ Cooperative last week.

Film still close-up of Lupe
Mario Montez in a film still from “Lupe” by José Rodríguez Soltero (1966)

Also shot in New York City exactly fifty years ago, “Lupe” is a tribute to Mexican film star Lupe Vélez. Directed by Puerto Rican filmmaker José Rodríguez Soltero, it is clearly rooted in New York City’s underground cinema movement of the 1960s: it is visually striking, with bold, saturated colors; and narratively, it is every bit as transgressive as comparable films by Andy Warhol and Jack Smith. Its soundtrack, on the other hand, and the superb acting by drag queen Mario Montez, also root it to Latin America and Spain. Some of its parts seemed to dialogue with Mexican musicals of the 1950s called cabareteras. Others seemed to dialogue with Cuban Santiago Álvarez’s agit-prop newsreels of the 1960s. And I would not be surprised to learn that Almodóvar was inspired by Lupe when he shot “High Heels“.

The experience was unforgettable, a reminder that Latin American cinema, whether made in Latin America or in New York City, is a triangulated cinema defined by the intense circulation of images, themes, and sounds between North America, Europe, and Latin America itself.


Schoeder RodríguezPaul A. Schroeder Rodríguez is Professor and Chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. The author of Tomás Gutiérrez Alea: The Dialectics of a Filmmaker, he has published extensively on Latin American cinema in leading academic journals.