Rosa Tapia deposited Space and the Affect of Horror in Pablo Larrain’s Post Mortem on Humanities Commons 4 years, 2 months ago
Post Mortem by Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín challenges traditional cinematic conventions of affect and spectacle through a narrative of spaces and bodies that is neither realist, comedic, nor melodramatic. This chapter draws upon affect theories that study the spectacle of cinematic spaces and political bodies in Latin American film. The protagonist of Larraín’s film is an inconsequential morgue clerk who transcribed the details of Salvador Allende’s autopsy after the president’s death in the 11th September 1973 coup d’état. Post Mortem intentionally abstains from an explicit political commentary or sentimental release. The plot and cinematic technique combine to paint an uncomfortably naked image of evil, without guilt- ridden or heroic characters. The systematic dislocation, defamiliarization, and desecration of spaces sacralized by the collective memory allows Larraín’s film to trespass the affective boundaries of political melodrama. Spaces
that should have been familiar appear eerily distant and strange, morphing into dystopian versions of themselves as hospitals become morgues and body dumpsters, city streets turn into empty battlefields, and homes are now targets, prisons, or tombs.