Remembering Violence in <i>Matar a Jesús</i> (2017)


Events that are violent and traumatic in nature entail the breakdown of language and, with it, the conceptual frameworks that construct our social worlds. The inability of reason to articulate this rupture and to conventionally construct meaning implies that the reality of misery and violence can only be suggested (or formulated) through acts of narration that formally and affectively articulate memory into an imaginary. This dislocation of the event from its representation can then only be mapped through the generation and stimulation of affect – which has come to substitute reason as tool for remembering, narrating and, consequently, of mediating our reality. In the present article, the author studies the role of elements that evoke memory and generate the affective dynamics of a traumatic event. Specifically, the author explores the interactions of memory and affect in the process of narrating violence by analyzing objects of memory (such as photographs) that Paula, the protagonist of Matar a Jesús (Killing Jesus (2017) by Laura Mora), utilizes in order to articulate the story of her father’s murder. Further, she claims that the incorporation of filmmaker Laura Mora’s own personal experience as victim of violence points to the fact that the incessant necessity of reformulating trauma and stylizing misery widens the gap between reality and its representation, thus rendering violence unimaginable.


violence; Latin America; Colombian cinema; Matar a Jesús; Laura Mora

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Published : 2022-12-31

FattoriL. (2022). Remembering Violence in <i>Matar a Jesús</i&gt; (2017). Review of International American Studies, 15(2), 95-107.

Laura Fattori
Independent Scholar  Canada

Laura Fattori holds an MA in Film and Moving Image Studies from Concordia University, in Montreal, Canada. Her current research interest deals with the role cinema plays in the Colombian ‘post-conflict’ society. Her essay “Narratives of Post-Conflict: Memory and the Representation of Violence in Colombian Contemporary National Cinema”, earned her a Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema Award 2020-21, as well as a Concordia Graduate Mobility Award 2020-21, which allowed her to broaden her research. Her undergraduate dissertation, “Narratives and aesthetics of the Database” was granted an honorary thesis mention from University of Bogotá Jorge Tadeo Lozano. Her work engages with the representation of violence and trauma in cinema, and argues for the cultural mediation of images, particularly as it concerns the processes of memory during the contemporary peace-building efforts of a post-conflict Colombian society. 

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