The legacy of Luis Ospina
Celebrating the Colombian filmmaker’s remarkable cinema.
“My generation was young when George Romero’s The Night of the Living Dead came out,” the Colombian filmmaker Luis Ospina told me last October, at DocLisboa, where he was given a retrospective. “That was a turning-point B-movie for me. It was about zombies and cannibalism, but you could give it a political reading, since it was filmed during the Vietnam War. It taught me that the horror genre, and the myth of Dracula, which is a metaphor of power, could be adapted to other latitudes and social and political contexts.”
Born in Cali and educated in film at UCLA, the director, who died this past September, transplanted the idea of vampirism to his native country.
Here’s the discussion of Ospina’s films, in the context of the DocLisboa retrospective
of the filmmaker in 2018, written for Film Comment: “
The festival’s chief guest, Colombian underground filmmaker Luis Ospina, who received a comprehensive retrospective—the first such program dedicated to his work in Europe—framed this artistic freedom even more pointedly. “There is a key distinction between making political films and making films politically,” he told the audience during a talk at the Cinemateca Portuguesa. The difference, as illustrated by Ospina’s career, lies in not being satisfied with reproducing distressing images that can conform to an audience’s preconceived notions, and instead taking an active, critical, and provocative stance toward such images, and toward the act of looking.Ospina’s own infamous mockumentary short, The Vampires of Poverty
(1978), co-directed with Carlos Mayolo, was a protest against what the two saw as uncritical portrayals of poverty by many documentary filmmakers whose investigative reportages turned the Third World’s poor into “merchandise,” as Ospina put it.”
Full text on Film Comment.