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Richard Doty

Barbara Truesdell
History & Memory Study Center

Last modified: Monday, November 11, 2002

Three Latin American documentary films featured at IU event

Films on El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua will be shown in a two-day conference on Latin American documentary film at Indiana University on Friday and Saturday (Nov. 15-16).

"Splicing Together the Past: Structuring Memory in Latin American Documentary Film" is the title of the event sponsored by the IU Center for the Study of History and Memory. The events in the Radio-TV Center, Room 245 will be open to the public free of charge and are expected to interest the general public, the IU community and film scholars.

Each of the three films will be presented by the film makers and will include an introduction before the screening and a discussion/reception to follow. The discussions will center on the practical, aesthetic and theoretical decisions that lead to creation of these Latin American historical narratives.

The conference will premiere the English-subtitled version of "Cicatriz de la Memoria, El Salvador, 1932 (The Scars of Memory)" by Jeffrey Gould, an IU history professor and director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, at 2:30 p.m. on Friday. The film concerns a 1932 revolt and massacre in El Salvador that left 10,000 dead. "This film seeks the historical truth behind the massacre and examine the ways in which the collective memory of these events has been silenced and deformed," said Gould.

At 9 a.m. Saturday, Hilary Kahn, a visiting lecturer in anthropology at IUPUI will present "And With This We Live: Q'eqchi' Mayan Words and Images." This documentary in Spanish with English subtitles features Mayan participants in Guatemala discussing how their social codes of morality are structurally defined.

At 1:30 p.m. Saturday, John Mraz of the Universidad Autonoma de Puebla in Mexico will present "Innovating Nicaragua." This award-winning documentary in Spanish with English subtitles examines the struggles of Nicaragua when the Sandinista government overthrew the Somoza regime in 1979. The film shows activities of the "Innovators Movement" in various settings, including a transportation garage, supermarket, day-care center and textile factory.

The Center for the Study of History and Memory, formerly the Oral History Research Center, has the goal of incorporating memory and identity as key analytical concepts in the practice of history and the social sciences.

For more information on the conference, contact Barbara Truesdell, assistant director of the center, at 812-855-2856 or