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Motion Pictures

Travel Ideals in Film

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Edited By Gemma Blackwood and Andrew McGregor

This volume examines representations and explorations of travel ideals in contemporary international cinema. It assembles work from a diverse range of academic fields including anthropology, sociology, ethnography, cinema, culture, tourism, communication and language studies, with contributions from international experts such as Mary Louise Pratt of New York University, whose work on ‘contact zones’ continues to provide the framework for scholarship on travel writing around the world. The volume explores the link between filmed spaces and real locations, with one of the fundamental dynamics being the investigation of filmmaking itself, and in particular the notion that cultural authenticity may be sought and found by filming ‘on location’. Also examined are the notions of fantasy and exoticism that arise through an idealisation of the locations themselves and their transformational impact on the protagonists who travel there. Such is the impact of motion pictures on contemporary culture that these travel ideals in film will inevitably influence our understanding of cities, regions, nations and cultures; indeed, the world around us and our role in it.
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Chapter One: On Location: White SUVs, Moral High Ground, and the Politics of Re-enactment in Icíar Bollaín’s También la lluvia / Even the Rain

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MARY LOUISE PRATT

CHAPTER ONE

On Location: White SUVs, Moral High Ground, and the Politics of Re-enactment in Icíar Bollaín’s También la lluvia / Even the Rain

From its opening to its closing scene, Icíar Bollaín’s film También la lluvia / Even the Rain (2010), is punctuated by scenes of white northerners looking at radically unfamiliar southern realities through the windows of moving (also white) vehicles.1 The travel ideal put to the test here is filmmaking itself, in particular the authenticity sought by filming “on location”. Set in the year 2000, También la lluvia centres on a Spanish film crew that travels to Latin America to make a movie about the early years of Spanish colonialism in the Americas. The project is driven by an ethical mission: to recall the brutality and violence of Spanish colonial rule, and to recover and celebrate the handful of dissident priests who bravely condemned the abuses.2 The proposed film will take the form of a ← 15 | 16 → re-enactment of events in Spain’s first American colony, founded in 1493 on the island of Hispaniola. Spanish soldiers and colonists are the villains of the piece; the heroes are the Dominican friars Antonio de Montesinos and his famed disciple Bartolomé de las Casas,3 who condemned colonial abuses (played by Raúl Arévalo and Carlos Santos, respectively) and the Taíno rebel leader Hatuey (played by Juan Carlos Aduviri). The director Sebastián...

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