Landscapes of Dictatorship in Film: Three Aesthetic and Emotional Modes

by Graça P. Corrêa.

Drawing on emotion theory and genre studies, this article analyzes and compares three landscapes of dictatorship in film, namely Fritz Lang’s The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933), Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone (2001), and Luis Llosa’s The Feast of the Goat (2005), as expressed by distinct aesthetic and emotional modes. The films under examination reflect upon three interrelated dictatorial rules in disparate geographical locations: the escalation of Nazi power and attendant criminal frame of mind in Germany of the early 1930s (Fritz Lang’s); the persecution of Leftwing sympathizers, accompanied by the murder of powerless human beings, such as orphaned children, carried out by General Franco’s Rightwing supporters during the final days of the Spanish Civil War (Guillermo del Toro’s); and the authoritarian rule over the Dominican Republic from 1930 until 1961 by General Trujillo, nicknamed El Chivo, or The Goat, a despot notorious for being an insatiable abuser of pubescent girls and young women (Luis Llosa’s). CONTINUE READING >

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