Hearing the Nonhuman: Defamiliarizing Sound and Image in Lo que soñó Sebastián
Lycoming College, EE.UU.
This article explores how Rodrigo Rey Rosa’s directorial debut, Lo que soñó Sebastián [What Sebastian Dreamt] (2004), crafts a cinematic imaginary of Guatemala’s Petén jungle. Rather than simply depict the Petén as a passive stage or mise-en-scène for the unfolding human drama, the film endows the jungle with agency, underscoring the interconnectedness of human and nonhuman life. It does so on a narrative level by probing the complicated ethics of environmentalism and the inevitability of complicity. It also does so through experimental cinematic techniques. The ludic distortion of natural sound and unexpected point-of-view shots work together to trouble the viewer’s expectation of how we might see or feel this place.
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