Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, Harvard Film Archive in Boston, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, have announced a special retrospective series of Paz Encina, one of Paraguayan cinema’s most compelling voices, presenting her two features—the award-winning Paraguayan Hammock / Hamaca paraguaya (2006) and Memory Exercises / Ejercicios de memoria (2016)—along with the short film Sorrows of the Struggle / Tristezas de la lucha (2016).
Born in 1971, at the height of the one of the bloodiest dictatorships in the South Cone, Encina fuses complex soundscapes with an intensely poetic visual language to evoke the violence that for centuries has been ingrained in the Paraguayan landscape. Her characters speak in a lyrical combination of Spanish and Guarani (evoking the literary language of Augusto Roa Bastos and Juan Rulfo) as they confront traumas both historical and enduring, whether the return of a son after a long absence, the unhealed wounds of war, the dispossession of the lands of the Guaraníes, or the effects of shock-therapy capitalism.
In her documentaries, Encina uses archival material made during the decades-long dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner to portray a harrowing bureaucracy of death, reawakening the language of denuncia, a cry for justice yet to be achieved.
With the presence of the filmmaker and under the local names of "Paz Encina: Exercises in Memory," "Memory and Hope: The Paraguayan Cinema of Paz Encina," and "Paz Encina," the series organized by Natalia Brizuela, Professor, University of California, Berkeley, and Kathy Geritz, Curator, Pacific Film Archive, will take place January 27 and 28 at Harvard Film Archive, February 1–9 at Pacific Film Archive, and February 10-12 at MoMA.