MoMA welcomes Paz Encina, one of Paraguayan cinema’s most compelling voices, who presents her two features—the award-winning Paraguayan Hammock (2006) and Memory Exercises (2016)—along with rarely screened short films. Born in 1971, at the height of the one of the bloodiest dictatorships in the South Cone, Encina fuses complex soundscapes with an intensely poetic visual language to evoke the violence that for centuries has been ingrained in the Paraguayan landscape. Her characters speak in a lyrical combination of Spanish and Guarani (evoking the literary language of Augusto Roa Bastos and Juan Rulfo) as they confront traumas both historical and enduring, whether the return of a son after a long absence, the unhealed wounds of war, the dispossession of the lands of the Guaranies, or the effects of shock-therapy capitalism. In her documentaries, Encina uses archival material made during the decades-long dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner to portray a harrowing bureaucracy of death, reawakening the language of denuncia, a cry for justice yet to be achieved.
Organized by Natalia Brizuela, Professor, University of California, Berkeley, and Kathy Geritz, Curator, Pacific Film Archive; and organized for The Museum of Modern Art by Mónica Ríos, intern, Department of Film.
Special thanks to UC Berkeley’s Regent’s Lectureship Program and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.