A series of screenings presented in collaboration with Louverture Films that seeks to generate discussions about cinema as a strategy of complexity and plurality and as a resistance to constructed realities



A feature film directed by Lucrecia Martel that is a surreal satire on colonialism

Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Politics / Economics
  • Social Justice

Opens to public





Lightbox Film Center
3701 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

On the web


Slought and the SP2 Social Justice and Arts Integration Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania are pleased to announce a special screening of ZAMA (2017), a feature film directed by Lucrecia Martel, on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 from 7-9pm at Lightbox Film Center, followed by a conversation with Latin American film scholar Natalia Brizuela. This event is free and open to the public, however registration is requested. Please plan to arrive early as registering does not guarantee you a seat. Seating is first come, first served.

ZAMA is an award-winning and surreal satire on colonialism based on the epic novel by Antonio di Benedetto. Set in the last decade of the 18th Century, just before the spark that set off the independence movements, the story turns on Don Diego de Zama, an officer of the Spanish Crown. Zama serves out his time in a provincial backwater, awaiting a promotion and transfer to Buenos Aires that never seems to come. Forced to submissively accept every task entrusted to him by successive Governors, he decides he must attract the notice of the King, and joins a party of soldiers that go after a dangerous outlaw who has been terrorizing the Spanish colonizers. Entering the jungle and encountering other peoples, Zama loses himself and gains, finally, the chance to live. In her director's note, Martel perfectly describes the landscape her characters inhabit, noting with irreverence that it is "a world that was devastated before it was ever encountered, and that therefore remains in delirium."

The film has screened at countless festivals and been released around the world since its premiere at the Venice, Toronto and New York Film Festivals, and has received top awards from the Sevilla European Film Festival, the Havana Film Festival, the Bildrausch Film Festival in Basel, and the Rotterdam International Film Festival.

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Described by Vogue as "one of the greatest directors in the world right now," Lucrecia Martel is an Argentine film director, screenwriter and producer whose feature films have frequented Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Toronto, and many other international film festivals.

Her 2001 debut film La Ciénaga ("The Swamp"), about an indulgent bourgeois family spending the summer in a decrepit vacation home in Martel's hometown of Salta in Northern Argentina, was highly acclaimed upon release and introduced her as a new and vital voice to Argentine cinema. Martel's voice and artistic vision were especially salient at that time, as contemporary filmmaking in Argentina increasingly reacted to the decades of political and economic crisis in the country.

Martel's succeeding three feature films, The Holy Girl (2004), The Headless Woman (2008), and ZAMA (2017), have received much acclaim and prompted film scholar David Oubiña to call her body of work a "rare perfection."

Natalia Brizuela is Associate Professor in the departments of Film & Media and Spanish & Portuguese at UC Berkeley. Her work focuses on photography, film, contemporary art, critical theory and aesthetics of Spanish America and Brazil. She is the author of three books on photography: Photography and Empire; After Photography; and the forthcoming The Matter of Photography in the Americas that will accompany an exhibition of the same title that she has curated for Stanford University's Art Museum, the Cantor Arts Center.


Reservations Requested

This event is presented in collaboration with Louverture Films and Strand Releasing, and produced by Slought.

It is presented in partnership with Lightbox Film Center as well as the Penn School of Social Policy & Practice and Cinema & Media Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania.