Politicas de la desposesion: masculinidad y neoliberalismo en el cine mexicano contemporaneo



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In Políticas de la desposesión: masculinidad y neoliberalismo en el cine mexicano contemporáneo, I study the representation of masculinity in contemporary Mexican cinema in the context of neoliberalism. The main films that I analyze are El Infierno (2010), by Luis Estrada, Post Tenebras Lux (2012), by Carlos Reygadas and Desierto (2016), by Jonás Cuarón. The chosen pieces are an example of the cinematic variety that is filmed today in Mexico. In all of them I see a recurring trope: the figure of a young or mature man who faces a deep process of loss and dispossession, whether material or spiritual. My general thesis is that the narratives of male dispossession show the passage from a solid masculinity to a liquid masculinity. I propose that in the 1930s emerged a type of masculine configuration that I call solid, characterized by a promise of property, legal certainties, and a close relationship with the Mexican State. Gradually, this masculine configuration becomes liquid at the end of the 80s with the imposition of neoliberalism. By liquidity I understand a masculinity regime that is constructed as vulnerable, in an economic context that privileges the elites and national and international capitalism at the expense of the majority. Through the liquid male character, each film that I analyze proposes the dismantling of certain official discourses about him. I argue that El Infierno challenges the social construction of the narco as essentially evil, alien to society, and its political structures. This discourse was created by the neoliberal State in 2006 to justify a war that seems to work as social cleansing, since they have not touched the elites that make drug trafficking possible. Regarding Post Tenebras Lux, I maintain that the film challenges the idea of the Mexican white criollo as the civilizing element of the Nation, since it constructs this group as violent and barbaric as the main mestizo character, an operation that is not very common in Mexican cinema, where the criminal is usually represented solely as mestizo or indigenous. Finally, in Desierto I explore discourses from the US extreme right wing about the "illegal" Mexican immigrant. I argue that this film problematizes the idea, based on Anglo-Saxon male anxieties, of the Mexican immigrant as a criminal, and instead, addresses the problem of violence as internal to the US nation and not as a foreign threat.



Masculinity, Neoliberalism, Dispossession, Liquid masculinity, Solid masculinity, Precarious life