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María Barea with Curator Matthew Barrington

A 35mm film still of a group of women dressed up for ceremony in white clothes and headdresses.
23 May 2024

Cinema Curator Matthew Barrington offers his insight ahead of the María Barea film screenings and ScreenTalk with the director.

Our upcoming event with Peruvian filmmaker María Barea promises to be a captivating exploration into the multifaceted career of a pioneering filmmaker. Born in 1943 in Chancay, Peru, María Barea has left an indelible mark on the world of cinema through her roles as an actor, director and producer spanning over three decades. Her journey began in the 1970s when she collaborated with her husband, director Luis Figueroa, on projects that highlighted the struggles of indigenous communities. However, Barea soon realised the absence of female perspectives in these narratives and embarked on a parallel journey to amplify the voices of silenced women, including her own. This pursuit led her to found Warmi Cine y Video, a women's film group dedicated to producing documentaries that shed light on the intersecting injustices faced by marginalised communities.

Barea's commitment to giving voice to the voiceless is exemplified in her groundbreaking documentary, Women of El Planeta, which earned international acclaim for its poignant portrayal of the experiences of women in Lima's shantytowns. Drawing from ethnographic research and personal testimonies, Barea crafted narratives that not only highlighted the structural injustices faced by these communities but also celebrated their resilience and collective strength. Through her work, Barea transcended traditional storytelling conventions, opting instead for a testimonial methodology that prioritised the empowerment of both the storyteller and the audience. Her films, such as Porque quería estudiar and Antuca, continue to challenge dominant narratives by presenting domestic workers not as victims, but as agents of change capable of reshaping their own destinies. By contextualising Barea's films within the socio-political landscape of Peru, the event offers a nuanced exploration of the transformative power of cinema in fostering empathy, awareness and social change.

Antuca & Porque quería estudiar + ScreenTalk
Mon 3 Jun, Cinema 2

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