Proposal Title

Confined spaces,the revolutionary training, and redemption of the male, black body in Pavel Giroud’s film El Acompañante (2016).

Start Date

June 2022

End Date

June 2022

Abstract

In this paper, I will discuss the spaces of confinement in urban peripheries, and the margins within the Cuban revolutionary society through Pavel Giroud’s film El acompañante/The companion (2016). In this film, one of its protagonists, Horacio (a disgraced boxer champion) has to serve as a 'companion' to Daniel (the other protagonist, former veteran, and HIV positive) in the HIV/AIDS sanatorium Los Cocos during the late eighties. The location of this institution, in a suburban area, close to the city of Havana, yet difficult to access and fully controlled by the government, communicates the idea that the people there do not belong to Cuban revolutionary society, regardless of their previous societal role. Here I explore the intersections of race and masculinities, colonial legacies, and medical discourses informing the revolutionary narratives, and the institutions that confine “abject” (Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror (1980)) people in Cuban society. The existence of such spaces of confined otherness exposes the remapping of power dynamics in post-1959 Cuban society and contradicts the state’s discourse about socialism and equality.

Bio

Lauren Peña is a Lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at The University of Texas at Austin. She received her Ph.D. degree in Iberian and Latin American Literatures and Cultures from The University of Texas at Austin. Her research examines social spaces of exclusion in revolutionary Cuba and their depiction in contemporary film productions. She has published in LL Journal, A Cuban Cinema Companion, and Studies in Spanish & Latin American Cinemas Journal.

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Jun 23rd, 3:00 PM Jun 23rd, 4:30 PM

Confined spaces,the revolutionary training, and redemption of the male, black body in Pavel Giroud’s film El Acompañante (2016).

In this paper, I will discuss the spaces of confinement in urban peripheries, and the margins within the Cuban revolutionary society through Pavel Giroud’s film El acompañante/The companion (2016). In this film, one of its protagonists, Horacio (a disgraced boxer champion) has to serve as a 'companion' to Daniel (the other protagonist, former veteran, and HIV positive) in the HIV/AIDS sanatorium Los Cocos during the late eighties. The location of this institution, in a suburban area, close to the city of Havana, yet difficult to access and fully controlled by the government, communicates the idea that the people there do not belong to Cuban revolutionary society, regardless of their previous societal role. Here I explore the intersections of race and masculinities, colonial legacies, and medical discourses informing the revolutionary narratives, and the institutions that confine “abject” (Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror (1980)) people in Cuban society. The existence of such spaces of confined otherness exposes the remapping of power dynamics in post-1959 Cuban society and contradicts the state’s discourse about socialism and equality.