(*I have never seen Los Rubios so my comments will only reflect a reaction to the essay)
In her essay Postmemory Cinema and the Future of the Past, Gabriela Nouzeilles points out the metafictional (actually, this term is incorrect, cause the film is neither a written text nor a fiction so to speak, so perhaps we should call it metafilmic or metanonfiction… an interesting notion as well) aspects of Los rubios by focusing on “the mirror effect created by the arrangement of the movie within the movie, looking for ‘Los rubios’, the equivocal parents,” that turns out to be “indistinguishable from looking for ‘Los rubios’, the elusive movie” (p. 269). She also pinpoints three versions of Albertina Carri: author (the filmmaker outside the documentary), auteur (her presence as a documentary subject within the documentary when it depicts the documentary making itself) and character (played by an actress in “reenactments” it seems). These “selves” that reflect upon each other seem to be approximations toward a reconstruction of the past via the generation left behind by ‘the disappeared,” the offspring of the victims of the horrors of the Argentinean dictatorship that escape representation. This insistence on keeping the term ‘los desaparecidos’ as opposed to victims or the dead (given the impossibility of an unveiling of cadavers, the end product, so the viewer - and the children of the disappeared - can hold witness and in a way have peace) reflects the absurdity of this process that Nouzelles calls postmemory. How can Albertina remember her parents, their cause, and their demise when she was not a direct witness to any of it? I’m very intrigued by how the film starts as a search for the past and becomes “performative” and humorous as a way to repair the mourning that was lost (the loss of the loss in a way, another reflection of a reflection like the 3 Albertinas). The self-reflexivity employed by the documentary seems to reflect on the very nature of memory, its reproduction on camera, testimony and truth. Given that none of these are possible in the case of ‘los desaparecidos’ (the documentary can’t even pin down the true color of the parents’ hair), these representations of “the unrepresented” by Carri are “the result of creative memory” which makes them, Nouzelles argues, “ ‘true’ to the past” (p. 270). Truth therefore is arrived through these mirror reflections established by the documentary-within-the-documentary (much like Hamlet’s play-within-the-play is used to get ‘proof’ that Claudius murdered Hamlet’s father). Truth (or, more accurately, some semblance of it) is arrived by pointing the camera back unto itself. We know how this works on fiction (as we saw last week with Gabriela Basterra’s lecture on Las meninas), but what happens here when it is applied to non-fiction and film. I cannot wait to see it on friday.