Children’s Safe Houses in Contemporary Argentine Film

Maguire, G. (2018) ‘Of hideouts and heterotopias’  Journal of Romance Studies 18 (2) 181-203.


Marcelo Piñeyro’s Kamchatka (2002) and Benjamín Ávila’s Infancia clandestina (2011) are important examples of the recent cultural turn towards child protagonists in cinematic representations of Argentina’s last military dictatorship. Both films reflect, to different extents, an emergent tendency to invest child protagonists with an increasing degree of narrative agency as they negotiate the dangers of clandestine life from within their safe houses. This article will argue, drawing on the work of Michel Foucault, that the liminality of the domestic spaces in these films reflects the similarly ‘heterotopic’ nature of childhood itself. By focusing on the distinctions between the two films’ representations of children’s interactions with and within the safe house, this study will emphasize the intergenerational tension that these films express through the presentation of a domestic sphere that has lost its security and stability, and instead become a heterotopian space of transience, , vulnerability, and crisis.


11 June 2018