Eliseo Subiela in Life and Cinema

The Persistence of Vision


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About the Book

Audiences never have a lukewarm opinion of a Subiela film. They either love it passionately or hate it profoundly. That Eliseo Subiela (Buenos Aires, 1944–2016), an original and sensitive thinker, survived, and indeed throve in economically challenged Argentina while garnering more accolades abroad than in his own country, is a tribute to his grit, intelligence, imagination and persistence of vision.
With an astounding list of prizes and honors, he was a world-class auteur. Even when he was making a TV commercial, his surreal style and poetic sensibility were unmistakable.
This book represents the culmination of 20 years of research and personal correspondence with Eliseo Subiela. Through ten scholarly studies and five interviews, it sheds light on his life, esthetics, obsessions, struggles with madness, and, of course, his films.
It addresses his earlier career in advertising, lifelong artistic influences, screenwriting techniques, critical reactions to his films, and what Subiela’s example has to offer aspiring filmmakers, especially those in Latin America.

About the Author(s)

Nancy J. Membrez is a professor of Spanish literature, culture, and Spanish and Latin American cinemas, as well as film production, at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She wrote the English subtitles for four Subiela films and produced three featurettes for the Kino Lorber DVD/Blu-ray of Man Facing Southeast. Her own film Portrait in Sepia Tone won Best Picture and Best Soundtrack at the International Filmmakers’ Film Festival in Kent, England, in 2008. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.

Bibliographic Details

Nancy J. Membrez
Foreword by Ksenija Bilbija

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 263
Bibliographic Info: 81 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7684-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4300-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Foreword: The Art of Eliseo Subiela: Chronotopes of Desire by Ksenija Bilbija 1
Introduction 3
Part One—The Persistence of Vision
1. Synthesis of a Life 8
2. The Persistence of Vision: Subiela’s Advertising Career 18
3. Fifty Years of Madness: From A Long Silence (1963) to Man Facing Southeast (1987) to Vanishing Landscapes (2013) 49
4. Subiela, Godard and a Host of Others: A Notebook 69
5. The Second Self Motif in the Films of Eliseo Subiela 80
6. Subiela and the Critics 99
7. Tilting at Windmills in Latin American Cinema 112
Part Two—Subiela, the Literary and the Personal
8. Subiela and Cortázar: A Shared Antenna 120
9. A Bent Antenna: The Conundrum of ­K-PAX 127
10. Collaborating with Eliseo Subiela, My Friend and Mentor 138
Part Three—Interviews
11. An Interview with Marcela Sáenz, Film Editor (2012) 150
12. An Interview with Ricardo De Angelis, Director of Photography and Colorist (2012) 169
13. An Interview with Eliseo Subiela (2000) 190
14. An Interview with Eliseo Subiela (2015) 200
15. The Last Interview: Eliseo Subiela Talks About Man Facing Southeast (2016) 205
Appendix 1: Subiela’s Filmography 213
Appendix 2: Subiela’s Film Prizes and Honors, in Chronological Order 215
Appendix 3: An Open Letter to President Raúl Alfonsín (1987) by Eliseo Subiela 218
Appendix 4: Dogma 95 is Cinema Sabotage (1999) by Eliseo Subiela 220
Appendix 5: Luis Buñuel’s Final Scene (2010) by Eliseo Subiela 221
Chapter Notes 225
A Bibliography of Subiela’s Interviews, Writings and Films 235
Index 239