In my dissertation, I trace the representation of drug use, globalization, social marginality, and violence in the two well-known films by the Colombian director Víctor Gaviria. My approach is framed by Walter Benjamin's critical-theoretical work on the notions of "experience" and "intoxication", Gilles Deleuze's idea of "double becoming", and Giorgio Agamben's concept of "bare life." I am also concerned with what might be called the “ethical” dimension that is inherent in Gaviria's strategy (the use of "natural actors," the question of pornomiseria, etc.). These films involve what I call the "paradox of drug euphoria," this paradox, I argue, means that for those whose existence have become "bare life," in Agamben's sense of the term, using drugs is an opportunity to reassert their lives. Drugs help the central characters in Gaviria's films create a collective experience and give value to themselves and their social environments. On the other hand, global accumulation, deterritorialization (the specter of Medellín as a kind of chaotic postmodern megalopolis), and frenetic stimulation are also effects of drugs, once productive of “bare life." These destructive effects are interrupted by the utopian desire of the characters in the films, who are also "real people," not only actors representing the urban "poor". However, these fleeting moments of utopian plenitude—not unlike what Benjamin meant by "illuminations"—are interrupted in turn by the force of capitalist deterritorialization and dehumanization. Gaviria's films exist in and portray the dialectic relation between these two forces. In short, I develop the paradox of euphoria into a critique of contemporary society and a new understanding of collective experience.
|School:||University of Pittsburgh|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/12, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Latin American literature, Film studies|
|Keywords:||Colombia, Drug use, Ethics, Gaviria, Victor, Globalization, Violence|
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