Filming the Bourgeoisie: Defining Identity with Violence in Eduardo Pavlovsky’s La mueca (1970)



La mueca (1970) by the Argentine Eduardo Pavlovsky (b. 1933) portrays the tale of four intruders-filmmakers who decide to confront a bourgeois couple about their hypocrisies, and in the process bring to light the role of performance in the couple’s construction of identity. Whereas in Piñera’s Dos viejos pánicos violence was used to cover up a deep-rooted fear, Pavlovsky’s violence inspires fear in its victims in order to humiliate them and make them realize the precariousness of their situation. Violent gestures are used to define the characters and allow them, in turn, to define others. Violent laughter that interrupts actions or mocks another, for example, becomes a tool that permits the one who laughs a place of authority—an authority that is born from humiliation and made to break someone else. Violence, then, is used in La mueca to create and destroy relationships and to form identities and self-definitions through the use of force.


Physical Violence Gang Member Class Difference High Social Class Armed Struggle 
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© Katherine Ford 2010

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