May 15, 2007

Mundo de Fieras in Belgrade

I'm in Belgrade since yesterday. A city that only a decade ago was bombarded by NATO to pressure dictator Milosevic into leaving its stronghold over this area.

I don't know Belgrade well yet. However, I can already say that it has the European cities' brand of beauty and the scars of its pecular history of transitions: From Yugoslavia to Serbia and Serbia.

It's a different world from the one I know. However, there's something here that reminds me of my Caracas. I don't know if it's that there's a certain amount of chaos in its traffic, a bit of improvisation in our University hosts, that the coffee is delicious, or simply that it's hot right now. The fact is I don't feel this place is completely strange or new to me.

Least of all when I turned on the TV in my room. I have cable and, therefore, CNN and BBC the perennial and desirable companions of those who travel and need news in English. But, there are also two stations that broadcast Mexican telenovelas almost 24 hours. Yesterday I watched a bit of Mundo de Fieras, and I felt, once again, what most Latin Americans who live abroad feel when we watch a telenovela away from home: a familiarity and an understanding. We "know" our telenovelas uniquely well. And when we're far away we don't mind watching a telenovela, even if we don't really like it (I don't particularly like this new version of Mundo de Fieras). What is important to us is what we feel when we watch these melodramas in a faraway TV screen, like mine here in Belgrade.

In addition, it's always great to see people from our country on television. And there she was: Gaby Espino showing that she's able to work in any country, even in difficult and ultranationalist Mexico. She was also a reminder of the many incidents and happenings that occur in the production of telenovela, how distorted their press accounts can be, and how mistaken the public's perception can also be.


Bg anon said...

Welcome and I hope you find your visit fruitful.

To be honest with you I'm not a huge fan of Telenovelas although I never rule out a complete genre. Probably its because we get the worse soap operas.

How would you compare them to the 80's soap operas of Dynasty and Dallas (perhaps you have written about this I have not checked)? It seems particularly pertinent in the Serbian case (and probably elsewhere) because people started out with these 2 US soap operas and continued on a diet of telenovelas.

Bg anon said...

sorry i meant 'worse quality telenovelas'

Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru said...

Thanks for you comment. I'm back in the US after spending an unforgettable week in Belgrade. I hope I can visit again soon.

Regarding your question, I must say that Dynasty and Dallas aren't really soap operas. They are series because of their once-a-week format. Soap operas are broadcast daily. Also the production of those two shows was way more expensive than those of soap operas (and telenovelas). These shows DID share with telenovelas and soap operas their melodramatic tone and the manichean construction of their characters.

Telenoveas toggle between two extremes "telenovelas rosa" and "telenovelas de ruptura" (you can read here my post about this topic). Unfortunately, most telenovelas that are exported to Serbia and its neighboring countries are "rosa" of variable quality. Therefore, they all seem to garner the same characters and tell the same story. It's a pity because telenovela production is more varied than that.

Again, thanks for your comment.