Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Finnegan N.
Transnational Cinemas
Framing childhood, mediating identity: Re-imagining the family in gustavo loza’s al otro lado (2004)
Scopus: 2 ()
Optional Fields
Border Child migration Cuba Mexico Morocco Spain
As has been noted by film scholars, concerns about childhood and adolescence permeate recent cinematic history in Mexico. There is certainly an abundance of evidence that children and adolescents feature prominently in Mexican cinema as agents who mediate issues of cultural identity and difference and who operate more generally as sites of cultural angst played out in the public sphere. This article will examine A otro lado (2004) by Mexican director, Gustavo Loza, a criss-crossing global narrative that explores notions of loss, absence and displacement in the everyday tale of three ‘Third World’ children from three different parts of the globe – Mexico, Cuba and Morocco. In each sequence, the child protagonist is foregrounded as a central mobilizing factor in the construction of a new family unit and their function as agents or mediators of identity within a transnational imaginary is both politically charged and visually challenging. In so far as the family is defined as the ultimate signifier of belonging, it functions at different points both allegorically and metonymically as the nation state, replicating its structures and positioning its members within its homogenizing and paternalistic frameworks. Viewed from this perspective, the film also comments on the fracturing of those unifying frameworks under globalizing neo-liberal structures that dictate the patterns of transnational migration. Through its playful interrogation of time-honoured family roles, the film may ultimately be read as an innovative attempt to re-imagine traditional configurations of the ‘family’ that recovers previously marginalized subjects such as women and children. In this way, it can be argued that it enables different approaches to our ways of thinking about the idea of family in a modernized, globalized world. © 2013 Intellect Ltd Article.
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