Aug 29, 2009
Aug 25, 2009
Last night RCTV began broadcasting in Venezuela its new telenovela Libres como el viento, written by Pilar Romero (Mi Prima Ciela, Elizabeth, Maite, Toda Mujer), inspired in Rómulo Gallegos' novel "La Brizna de Paja en el Viento".
It's too early to assess this telenovela. For the moment, I'm interested in its context, which we can see represented in the following promotional:
I can't help but to notice that these days Venezuelan telenovelas are living a moment that is the opposite of the one I studied in the year 2003. At that time, RCTV and Venevisión competed for the first place. Both networks were on the same political side: opposing Hugo Chávez's government. Their novelas, however, offered two very different options. Venevisión represented and editorialized the harsh political reality in successful telenovela Cosita Rica, written by Leonardo Padrón. For his part, José Simón Escalona, RCTV's dramatic chief, believed that at the time Venezuelans didn't want to see more reality on their tv screens (Acosta-Alzuru, 2007, p. 34). Hence, RCTV broadcast La Invasora, written by Iris Dubbs, followed by Estrambótica Anastasia, authored by Martin Hahn.
Today we're in a completely different situation. RCTV can only broadcast via cable, is dedicated to producing remakes and versions, and places its wagers on a telenovela with a context linked to reality. Venevisión, without a strong competitor in Venezuelan TV, nevertheless is keenly aware of the delicate situation regarding freedom of expression in Venezuela. Therefore, this network prioritizes international sales and asks its writers to author telenovelas that are more "universal", devoid of local flavor, and avoiding any references to the country's controversial reality.
Acosta-Alzuru, C. (2007). Venezuela es una Telenovela. Caracas: Alfa.
Aug 20, 2009
After an awesome summer teaching "International Mass Communication" in Oxford, I'm back at my university and routine. The Fall semester has already started and with it my class "Telenovelas, Culture and Society."
The course will examine Latin American telenovelas and their insertion in Latin America’s social formation. The connections between culture, media and society will be highlighted as we examine the historical roots of the genre, learn about its contexts of production, consumption and regulation, and analyze telenovelas as a public forum for the negotiation of social issues and meanings associated with Latin American reality. In addition, the course will underscore how telenovelas implicate and draw their audiences into the process of cultural production, as we look at how a mass-produced genre, conceived as for-profit entertainment, has tremendous significance in the everyday life of those who watch it.
- To become familiar with communication concepts and tools that are used in critical and cultural approaches to mass media studies.
- To analyze the ideological, rhetorical and cultural underpinnings of telenovelas.
- To understand the commercial and aesthetics dimensions of telenovelas, and their social uses.
- To examine how processes of industrialization and globalization have made their mark on the telenovela genre.