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El cine de Román Chalbaud Rodríguez, Omar

Abstract

This thesis examines the feature films of Venezuelan director Roman Chalbaud in narrative, aesthefical and ideological terms. Chalbaud is the most prolific of all Venezuelan directors having released sixteen feature films and four shorts between 1958 and 2005. Spanning for almost fifty years, his works coincides with crucial economic and social junctures in Venezuelan recent history. His movies have been always concern with social issues and his artistic method has a marked popular tone. The dissertation reevaluates the commonly held view that his films offer a transparent critique of Venezuelan urban society and establishes the narratives elements on which his movies rest upon. The films analysed are typically regarded as an insightful depiction of marginal subjects against the background of social conflicts in an oil-driven country. However, his extensive controls over the artistic process and his reliance on elements from popular culture, popular religion and melodrama have resulted in movies filtered through an idiosyncratic lens, often portraying a reductionist side of Caracas social settings. In order to contrast the director's ideology and narrative method, some of the main tenets of narratology are revisited in light of Bakhtin's ideas o f narrative discourse. This approach facilitates the analysis of the modes in which the cinematographic discourse, in technical, stylistic and content-related terms, creates several juxtaposed and often contradictory channels of communication. The investigation ultimately leads to a new and dynamic understanding of Chalbaud's artistic procedures, obsessions and limitations.

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