Art and Poetry in the Struggle for Human Rights
Lourdes Portillo is a writer, director, and producer of documentary films. Mexico-born and Chicana identified, Portillo’s films have focused on the search for Latino identity. She has worked in a richly varied range of forms, from television documentary to satirical video-film collage.
During the course of her 30-year career, she has pushed the boundaries of traditional documentary filmmaking. Deploying irony, satire, allegory, poetry, autobiography and even melodrama, Portillo has produced lyrical, visually intriguing, and entertaining documentaries. Her films include the Academy Award-nominated The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (1985), as well as Columbus on Trial (1993), and The Devil Never Sleeps (2001). She was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in recognition of her contributions to filmmaking.
All of her work is widely shown in classrooms and academic circles and integrated into curriculum studies. Portillo has helped break down the proscriptions of traditional documentary making because “women, and women of color in particular, often come into filmmaking with a different set of objectives than their male counterparts.” Portillo’s films have received high praise at more than ten international women’s film festivals.
This Provost’s Lecture, co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute, will be held on Tuesday, November 1, at 4:30 pm in the Humanities Institute, Room 1006.