Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures


Paul Julian Smith

Committee Members

Magdalena Perskowska

Julio Ramos

Oswaldo Zavala

Subject Categories

Comparative Literature | Film and Media Studies | Latin American Languages and Societies


Cinephilia, Spectatorship, Latin American Fiction, Latino Fiction, Caribbean Fiction, Noir


The arrival of cinema in Latin America quickly produced an intermedial cultural landscape. To this day, experimental authors in the Hemisphere and the Caribbean write cinegraphic fiction as a way to deal with film’s socio-cultural repercussions. My work addresses the question of how cinema transforms and subverts the creation of fictional narratives in the last five decades. By considering a corpus of post-1968 literary works in Latin America, I argue that contemporary cinegraphic fiction, a concept I coined, shed light on filmic discourses, platforms, and artifacts and transpose film language into literary texts. Intending to rethink polycentric film production and reception, I examine intermedial literary methods, spectatorship, and cinephilia in Latin America. My research uses film theory alongside literary criticism and cultural analysis to explore how cinegraphic storytelling facilitates a commentary on race, gender, class, migrant lives, media, and technology.

Through four chapters, I do close readings of cinegraphic cases from different national contexts. In the first chapter, I focus on engagements with active spectatorship by examining “Destinitos fatales,” “Queremos tanto a Glenda,” and “A Brick Wall,” three short stories by Andrés Caicedo, Julio Cortázar and César Aira, respectively. In chapter two, I analyze the relationship between travels, film reception and memory in the novels Las películas de mi vida by Alberto Fuguet and La fiesta vigilada by Antonio José Ponte. The reproduction of silent comedy and film noir tropes in the novel Triste, solitario y final by Osvaldo Soriano centers the discussions of chapter three. Lastly, I discuss cinegraphic laboratories and fluid authorship in the short story Lost in the Museum of Natural History by Pedro Pietri, and the novels Yoyo Boing! by Giannina Braschi, Contrabando by Víctor Hugo Rascón Banda and Cuatro muertos por capítulos by César López Cuadra.

My dissertation argues that cinegraphic fiction promotes hybridity of form and content that expands the strategies of literary representation to highlight the interconnectedness of film culture and societal tensions. The use of cinema-infused modes of expression is central to a general critique of late capitalist societies and the marginalization of communities and individuals in Latin America and the United States.