Following the Sandinista Revolution in 1979, young bohemian artists rushed to the newly formed Nicaraguan national film institute INCINE to contribute to "the recovery of national identity" through the creation of a national film project. Over the next eleven years, the filmmakers of INCINE produced over seventy films—documentary, fiction, and hybrids—that collectively reveal a unique vision of the Revolution drawn not from official FSLN directives, but from the filmmakers' own cinematic interpretations of the Revolution as they were living it.
This book examines the INCINE film project and assesses its achievements in recovering a Nicaraguan national identity through the creation of a national cinema. Using a wealth of firsthand documentation—the films themselves, interviews with numerous INCINE personnel, and INCINE archival records—Jonathan Buchsbaum follows the evolution of INCINE's project and situates it within the larger historical project of militant, revolutionary filmmaking in Latin America. His research also raises crucial questions about the viability of national cinemas in the face of accelerating globalization and technological changes which reverberate far beyond Nicaragua's experiment in revolutionary filmmaking.
"This is the only major study of Nicaraguan cinema and, as such, it is invaluable not only to film students, but also to third world studies and cultural work. . . . In a world dominated by corporate culture, the effort by a small, poor, underdeveloped country to construct a national film project has importance as a model despite its failures."
DeeDee Halleck, author of Hand-Held Visions: The Uses of Community Media
"The book provides an invaluable resource for Latin American film scholars, scholars of contemporary Nicaraguan state formation, and cultural studies scholars intrigued with larger questions concerning the relationship between the arts, social change, mediation, and globalization."
The Journal of Latin American Anthropology