Decolonizing Cinema through the Intersection between Science Fiction and Disability: The Case of Branca sai, Preto fica by Adirley Queirós

Ariela Parisi (Rutgers University)

The film Branco sai, Preto fica (2015) by Brazilian director Adirley Queirós explores the possibilities of the interaction between the documentary genre and science fiction to reflect on police violence executed against the Black population of Ceilândia in 1986. The introduction of science fiction elements into the equation, such as time traveling, allows the director to view the historical past; not from the present, but from a dystopian near-future, where state surveillance and institutional violence appear to be ubiquitous. The daily struggle endured by the two main characters, Marquim and Sertana, includes dealing with the physical consequences of the event suffered in 1986. Marquim has been paralyzed due to a stray bullet and must use a wheelchair to get around, while Sertana has lost a leg and wears a mechanical prosthesis. The intersectionality between technology and disability has led critics to read these characters in the framework of posthumanism and to include them within the category of cyborgs. In this work, I aim to explore the relationship between disability and technology not only through the category of cyborg, but also through the terms misfit and misfitting, proposed by Rosemarie Garland-Thompson. By exploring these categories the author emphasizes the dynamic material relation between body and the world that makes disability. I will argue that misfitting in terms of mobility allows the two characters of the film to execute other types of agency in the realm of cinematic language.

The Similars and Mexican History in The Twilight Zone

Igor Carastan Noboa

This presentation address how the Mexican film The Similars (dir. Isaac Ezban, 2015) draws on the American anthology television series The Twilight Zone (CBS, 1959-64) to construct its narrative. Ezban's movie analyzes issues of Mexican history, society, and identity, as well as making broader statements about the human nature in a science fiction setting. Thus, the characterization of the characters, the setting, the use of plot twist in the narrative, and the presence of a narrator have roots on Rod Serling's concepts for The Twilight Zone series—including its humanistic approach.

The Similars tells the story of a strange storm that isolates people at a bus station while they wait for the coach to go to Mexico City. The narrative takes place in the dawn of the fateful October 2, 1968, the day of the famous Tlatelolco Massacre. The people at the bus station begin to undergo physical transformations which leave everyone with the same appearance—that of a bearded young man. The desperate characters try to find out what is going on, while looking for who is responsible for this transformation. The familiar space of the bus station is subverted with the intention that deeper reflections are carried out by the audience.

Rod Serling saw his Twilight Zone as a fantastic space between imagination and reality which would serve as a territory of diagnosis and judgment for individuals and the American society in the mid-twentieth century. In parallel, Isaac Ezban applies the same logic as a background to his movie, but applying this to the Mexican society. Therefore, The Similars pays tribute to Serling's famous series without hiding Ezban's influences as a filmmaker. In a more aesthetically visceral and low-budget scenario than the American series, The Similars approaches not only issues related to Mexican society and even contemporary globalization, but also deep human questions: like the problem of who we are and how we differentiate ourselves from others. The director is a connoisseur of horror and science fiction, as we can see in his career, with works such as The Incident (2014) and Parallel (2018). Isaac Ezban's The Similars revisits The Twilight Zone in a creative and original way, and is good example of contemporary Latin America science fiction movie.

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