Focus Group: ELDORADO XXI, 2016

Focus Group presents the haunting and mysterious film ELDORADO XXI by Salomé Lamas (2016, 125 mins). Shot in the Peruvian Andes on the edge of a gold mine, ELDORADO XXI is a parafictional attempt to combine a sensory ethnographic approach with critical media practices. Panoramic shots of La Rinconada—a city situated over 5,000 meters high—stun with majestic wintry mountain landscapes, flat-roofed tin shacks cowering next to one other, and women perched on steep slopes who use primitive tools to break through pieces ore. This twenty-first century El Dorado is an inhospitable place where untold numbers of people live and work in the most precarious of conditions hoping both for gold and a better life. In her film, Lamas has constructed a cinematic diptych to convey this situation’s extremity and the dimensions of its misery without resorting to graphic images. Dorota Biczel, curator of MOVING MOUNTAINS: Extractive Landscapes of Peru by Edi Hirose & Nancy La Rosa will begin the evening with a brief introduction.

Focus Group: ELDORADO XXI is presented in collaboration with Experimental Response Cinema and in conjunction with the exhibition MOVING MOUNTAINS: Extractive Landscapes of Peru by Edi Hirose & Nancy La Rosa, on view September 23 – December 10

Additional support comes from CLAVIS (Center for Latin American Visual Studies)LARA (Latin American Roaming Art Collection), Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundation, Allison and David Ayers, Kaleta Doolin, and other 156 individual donors who contributed through the 2015 HornRaiser and The 40 Hours for The Forty Acres campaigns.

About the Director

Salomé Lamas (b.1987, Lisbon) studied cinema in Lisbon and Prague, visual arts (MFA) in Amsterdam, and is a PhD candidate in film studies in Coimbra. Lamas is a filmmaker whose work dissolves the apparent border between documentary and fiction. With an interest in the intrinsic relationship between storytelling, memory, and history, Lamas uses the moving image to explore the traumatically repressed or historically invisible, from the horrors of colonial violence to the landscapes of global capital.

About the Speaker

Dorota Biczel is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin. In 2015–16, she served as the Visual Arts Center Curatorial Fellow. She specializes in contemporary Latin American art in the global context. Her dissertation investigates artistic and architectural interventions and the construction of new publics in Lima during the political transition of the early 1980s. Biczel has published catalog essays, journal articles, and criticism internationally.

About Focus Group

Focus Group is an experimental film screening series introducing visitors to foundational filmmakers and their contemporary counterparts. Accompanied by presentations from film experts, the screenings stimulate conversation about experimental film and its various formats.