Visiones de Caracas: Promesa y desencanto
Guaraguao, 18, .
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This article discusses the key changes evident in the representation of the city of Caracas in Venezuelan literature and film since the early decades of the twentieth century. Particular attention is given to the relationship between those changes and the rapid and largely unplanned growth of the city and the social problems and tensions that resulted. It shows how early twentieth century perceptions of modern urban values as the major force for national development, exemplified by Gallegos’ Doña Bárbara (1929), were steadily replaced by increasingly disturbing accounts of poverty, marginalization and violence in the city, and works of social protest against such conditions. It argues that the more recent works discussed, such as the 1999 film Huelepega, a bitter portrayal of the life of homeless children in the capital, demonstrate the full extent of the disenchantment and despair that many artists felt towards social conditions and conflicts within the city at the end of the century. The article also considers the new, more sophisticated techniques introduced in prose and poetry in an effort to capture the increasing social and cultural diversity in Caracas in the latter part of the century, and the changing life styles of its different social sectors, as well as the attempts by some artists to combat the overwhelmingly negative representation that prevailed by focusing on creative activity and political organization in the poor, marginalised districts of the city.
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