University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

The Third Avant Garde: Black Audio Film Collective and Latin America

Elliott, Paul (2019) The Third Avant Garde: Black Audio Film Collective and Latin America. In: British Art Cinema: Creativity, Experimentation and Innovation. Manchester University Press, Manchester. ISBN 978-1-5261-0087-0

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The development of Latin American cinema in the 1960s was underwritten by a number of key texts that outlined the aesthetic and political direction of individual filmmakers and collectives (Solanas and Getino, 1969; Rocha, 1965; Espinosa, 1969). Although asserting the specificity of Latin American culture, the theoretical foundations of its New Wave influenced oppositional filmmaking way beyond its own regional boundaries.
This chapter looks at how movements in British art cinema, especially the Black Audio Film Collective, were inspired and propelled by the theories behind New Latin American cinema. Facilitated by English translations in journals such as Jump Cut in the early ‘80s, Cuban and Argentine cinematic manifestoes provided a radical alternative to the traditional language of film theory available to filmmakers in Europe and works such as Signs of Empire (1983-4); Handsworth Songs (1986) and Seven Songs for Malcolm X (1993) grew out of this trans-continental exchange.
The Black Audio Film Collective represented a merging of politics, popular culture, and art that was, at once, oppositional and melodic. Fusing postcolonial discourse with pop music, the avant-garde and re-imaginings of subalternity, the work of ‘The Collective’ provides us with a useful example of how British art cinema has drawn from theoretical foundations formed outside of Europe and the West.
As this chapter will argue however, the Black Audio Film Collective’s work can also be read as a reaction to the specificity of British socio-politics of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Its engagement with the aesthetico-political strategies of Latin American cinema, then, undercut what was a solidly British project, rooted in (post)colonial history and emerging ideas of disaporic identity. If the propulsive thrust of The Black Audio Film Collective’s art was shaped by Third Cinema, its images and concerns were self-consciously British.

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Latin American cinema, film making, Black Audio Film Collection, British Art Cinema
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Arts
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Depositing User: Paul Elliott
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2016 10:37
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:11

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