Drago Momcilovic, Comparative Literature, UW-Milwaukee
“Anthems of the Disempowered: Anglo-European Music and Chilean Cultural Memory after Pinochet”
Wednesday, November 5, 2014 3:30pm
American Geographical Society Library (UWM Libraries, Third floor)
This talk is an illustrated exploration of the aesthetic and political implications of the transmission of iconic musical texts and scenes from the Anglo-American world to the repressive world of armed violence and “quotidian traumas” suffered under General Pinochet. I will trace this trend in two provocative narratives that appropriate Western idioms of cultural distinction, resistance, and revolt, and use them, with some success but more frustration, to re-imagine the recent history of a Chile still slowly transitioning out of a military dictatorship: Pablo Larraín’s 2008 film Tony Manero, which recreates the American disco phenomenon of Saturday Night Fever from the vantage point of a wayward criminal who pins his hopes of escape onto a perfectly recreated dance routine for a national television show; and Ariel Dorfman’s 1991 play La muerte y la doncella, a modern-day revenge fantasy about a survivor of sexual trauma who relies on Schubert and his innovative recreation of poetic materials to shape her own platform from which to decry the seemingly ineffective, “official” response to national trauma.