20 Years of Ícaro spreading its wings: Ícaro International Film Festival

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The global imaginary of Central America, encompassing Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama,[1] often relates to the subcontinent’s turbulent history and strategic geopolitical positioning. From succumbing to European imperial forces in the 15th century to the end of the Cold War and its aftermath, the southernmost isthmus of North America that connects to South America has always been disputed and divided. 1996 marks the year that the last of the United Nations’ Central American Peace Agreements was signed between national governments and revolutionary parties to officially end a long series of domestic and international conflicts. Ever since its independence from colonial powers in 1821, there have been various (failed) attempts to integrate the region as a Central American unity, be it politically, economically, socially, or culturally. For the past twenty years, referred to as the ‘postwar’ period, governments, institutions, and individuals have again taken to uniting in diversity. One of the ways to chart this reconstruction of a postwar identity is to look at the expressive development of a regional film culture. Despite the fact that the history of film in Central America dates back to the early 20th century as it does in most parts of the world, the first 100 years of film saw the release of barely 44 fiction features,[2] and most films documented the diverging political or ideological causes that the societies were caught up in. The 1990s in particular have been characterised as ‘the silent period’, for having produced only one fiction feature, aptly titled El Silencio de Neto (The Silence of Neto, Luis Argueta, 1994). Since 2001, however, Central America has produced around 200, 50 in Costa Rica alone. Slowly, a ‘new Central American cinema’[3] has been developing as a regional cultural expression celebrating diversity and spurred by the region’s long-standing politics of integration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-281
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

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