Lucrecia Martel, Argentina, 2017, 115 min.
Zama is an award-winning and surreal satire on colonialism based on the epic novel by Antonio di Benedetto. Set in the last decade of the 18th Century, just before the spark that set off the independence movements, the story turns on Don Diego de Zama, an officer of the Spanish Crown. Zama serves out his time in a provincial backwater, awaiting a promotion and transfer to Buenos Aires that never seems to come. Forced to submissively accept every task entrusted to him by successive Governors, he decides he must attract the notice of the King, and joins a party of soldiers that go after a dangerous outlaw who has been terrorizing the Spanish colonizers. Entering the jungle and encountering other peoples, Zama loses himself and gains, finally, the chance to live. In her director's note, Martel perfectly describes the landscape her characters inhabit, noting with irreverence that it is "a world that was devastated before it was ever encountered, and that therefore remains in delirium."
The film has screened at countless festivals and been released around the world since its premiere at the Venice, Toronto and New York Film Festivals, and has received top awards from the Sevilla European Film Festival, the Havana Film Festival, the Bildrausch Film Festival in Basel, and the Rotterdam International Film Festival.
Followed by a conversation with Latin American film scholar Natalia Brizuela. This event is free and open to the public, however registration is requested. Please plan to arrive early as registering does not guarantee you a seat. Seating is first come, first served.
Presented in conjunction with No Mud, No Lotus, a series of screenings presented in collaboration with Louverture Films that seeks to generate discussions about cinema as a strategy of complexity and plurality and as a resistance to constructed realities. No Mud, No Lotus, the inaugural project of the Social Justice and Arts Integration Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice, is produced by Slought and presented in partnership with the School of Social Policy & Practice and the Cinema & Media Studies Program and the Center for Africana Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.