Together with Carlos Mayolo, Luis Ospina has directed some of the most incisive and critical films on the identity stereotypes that are still prevalent in the cultural imaginary of Colombia and, by extension, Latin America. Setting out from the term “porno-miseria”, his work explicitly speaks out against the obscene use of violence and extreme poverty as a spectacle.
This film series, with the film-maker present, serves as an introduction to his work. The triple agent, which lends its name to this programme, is a collage by the artist Pedro Manrique Figueroa, portraying, autobiographically, the ambiguous relationship between art and politics in the Latin America of this renowned, fictional artist, who is the focal point of the film Un tigre de papel (2007), Luis Ospina’s fictional documentary that concludes the series.
The triple agent is also the role the Colombian film-maker undertakes in his relationship to multiple debates, movements and schools – from the militant cinema of the 1960s and 1970s to video activism in the 1980s, from documentary realism to the poetics of underdevelopment. Despite his constant participation in all of them, he exposes their biased inclination towards stereotypes or towards representative paternalism and perpetually explores their critical tension. This retrospective shows the director’s confrontation in Agarrando pueblo (co-directed with Carlos Mayolo, 1978), in which social protest, the limits of film language and the ethics of participation are explored over four sessions that feature input from the film-maker.