Silent and early sound cinema in Latin America

Local, national, and transnational perspectives

Authored by: Rielle Navitski

The Routledge Companion to Latin American Cinema

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138855267
eBook ISBN: 9781315720449
Adobe ISBN:


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As new audiovisual technologies have emerged over the past three decades, film historians have increasingly turned their attention to the early twentieth century, a moment when cinema and recorded sound sparked equally profound transformations of popular culture. In the context of this so-called “historical turn,” research on silent and early sound cinema in Latin America has been shaped by persistent challenges as well as new opportunities. Due to the discontinuous character of film production in the region and other obstacles to film preservation, only a small percentage of Latin American silent films have survived, and many early sound features have also been lost, making print publications the primary source for early film histories. The growing availability of digitized newspapers and magazines, along with the rediscovery, restoration, and video/digital release of silent and early sound films, has opened up new avenues for exploring cinema’s profound impact in early twentieth-century Latin America.

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