Media Arts Program

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Co-sponsored/co-presented by:
The University at Buffalo, Department Media Studies

Jim Finn


Presented at:

(The Shining Trench of Chairman Gonzalo)
Hallwalls Artist-in-Residence Project (HARP) media artist Jim Finn returns to Buffalo with his latest feature, La Trinchera Luminosa Del Presidente Gonzalo (2007, 64min).
Like a Maoist home movie from the 80's (shot in Hi-8 video in New Mexico) the film explores a day-in-the-life of a Shining Path women's prison cellblock in Peru. After capture, the Gang-of-Four Maoist revolutionaries basically ran their cellblocks as if they were training camps. It follows the inmates organizing classes, marches, criticism sessions, a dance party, and playing scenes from a Navajo-language Macbeth. Heavily researched, the film draws from many sources including video footage from the prisons and interviews with Shining Path militants and their leader Chairman Gonzalo, the former philosophy professor Abimael Guzman. "In a sense the film is a kind of socialist realism film or perhaps a failed propaganda film—one that didn't pass the Shining Path censors," writes Finn. "What has been created is a slightly stylized and fictionalized world based in fact. A women's prison movie without a shower scene, a Latin American guerrilla film without guns, and a Shakespearean drama without the dramatic ending. Though set in the late '80s, a movie about terrorist extremists locked away and forgotten in prison with nothing but their ideology has a relevance that doesn't seem to be fading any time soon."

Some publications related to this event:
November and December, 2007 - 2007