Institute History

  • 1988 Sundance Film Festival


One of the most unusual films to emerge from Argentina, where it was literally years in the making, Geronima gives the lie to the common misconception of Argentina as a country which no longer has any Indians and which has long ago ceased to be home to any indigenous population. Raul Tosso has blended fact and fiction in order to dramatize the true story of one Mapucho Indian woman.

Geronima ’s long prologue takes us out of the urban world completely, replicating the slow rhythms of real time in the Mapuche universe. As it moves out of the timing of chronicle into that of drama, the film grounds its imaginative reenactments if fact as Geronima’s own recorded voice begins to intrude upon the soundtrack to chilling effect. The narrative traces Geronima’s history, from a free but poverty-stricken existence in the South of Argentina to her discovery by psychiatrists. They transport her out of her world into a hospital—there to be studied like an animal in a laboratory until she and her children are driven to madness or death. Her voice responds to questions from these original psychiatric interrogations, while the film itself gives voice to her true subjectivity and the brutalizing effects of forced acculturation, conveyed through a brilliant articulation of gesture and pace.

— Tony Safford

Screening Details

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