Bargaining with globalization: The cinema of Juan José Campanella Articles uri icon

publication date

  • September 2018

start page

  • 115

end page

  • 129


  • 2


  • 16

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1474-2756

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2040-0578


  • Having built his reputation largely on films that seem to embody the very quintessence of Argentinianness, it might be surprising at first to see the name of Juan José Campanella (Buenos Aires, b. 1959) in a volume dedicated to cinema without borders. While other well-known Latin American directors such as three amigos Alfonso Cuarón (b. 1961), Alejandro González-Iñárritu (b. 1963) and Guillermo del Toro (b. 1964) moved to Hollywood after a successful debut in their home countries, Campanella took his first professional steps in the United States only to later return to Argentina and make his international breakthrough there. Yet there is no paradox in his presence here &- quite the opposite in fact. First, because his work indeed knows no borders: he has also filmed in Spain and many of his movies are co-productions. But second, and more importantly, because his Argentinian-made films establish a complex and fruitful dialogue between the specific history and character of his home country and a wide range of foreign inspirations and influences, mostly but not only from US cinema, in terms of themes, genres, narrative and aesthetics. This article traces that local/global dialogue throughout Campanella's career and complete filmography. From this perspective, it is a paradigmatic example of how Latin American cinema can nowadays only be understood within the frame of that global circulation of works, people and ideas that make borders increasingly irrelevant &- malgré quelqu'un.