Widener professor Beatriz Urraca of Wallingford presents her new book at Libros del Balcón, a bookstore in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Widener Professor Beatriz Urraca of Wallingford Edits New Book on Argentine Cinema
Chester, Pa.- Dr. Beatriz Urraca, associate professor of modern languages and incoming director of the Program in Gender and Women’s Studies at Widener University, has co-edited the book “Directory of World Cinema: Argentina” with Philadelphia-based freelance film critic Gary M. Kramer. The book, published by Intellect in the United Kingdom and distributed by The University of Chicago Press, will be released in June. It explores approximately 90 Argentine films including Oscar winners, contemporary blockbusters, experimental documentaries and early films about the tango and gauchos. Argentina has one of the most complex, diverse and successful film industries in Latin America.
“Many colleagues and friends have asked me over the years to recommend films for their courses or for fun,” Urraca said. “We put together this book as an answer to those requests.”
“Directory of World Cinema: Argentina” is a collection of essays and reviews by scholars, critics, filmmakers and film buffs from around the world. It provides a critical analysis of Argentine movies and allows readers to learn about the country’s film industry, as well as its history and culture. Readers may get inspired to visit Argentina; Urraca especially recommends going in April to attend the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema (BAFICI) and experience the country’s vibrant film culture. She also encourages venturing outside of the capital city to see the glaciers in Patagonia and the wineries at the foot of the Andes Mountains in Mendoza.
Urraca, a native of Spain and a resident of Wallingford, Pa., has been working on Argentine literature since completing her dissertation and receiving her doctorate in comparative literature at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She started studying film in 2004 and has taught classes about Spanish and Latin American cinema in addition to ones on literature and language. She specializes in recent film fiction from the New Argentine Cinema, which started in the late ’90s, to present-day films, with a focus on the representation of gender and how films depict social problems such as poverty and marginalization.
Urraca has also worked on civic engagement projects with students in several Latin American countries. In Argentina, she directed a service-learning program working with a church in an impoverished community outside Buenos Aires where priests are committed to fighting poverty. A similar phenomenon has been depicted in films like White Elephant and Slum, which are featured in her book and are also the subject of a forthcoming journal article for “Revista de Estudios Hispánicos.” Urraca’s service experiences have given her a well-rounded perspective of Argentina as she has lived not only in its luxurious neighborhoods, but also in its poverty-stricken areas. “It’s helped me understand the country a lot better, and I think that translates into my work,” she said.