Latin America’s first moving-image display took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 8 July 1896, followed in the same year by screenings in the capitals of most other Latin American countries. Early audiences were essentially urban, and the first film images of Latin America, made between 1896 (Mexico) and 1911 (Peru), were usually by Europeans recording royal and state ceremonies, wonders of nature, and other actualities. However, most countries saw no significant local film production for several decades. This was partly to do with the dominance of US films: as early as 1914, Hollywood had targeted Latin America as a key market, establishing an ascendancy further strengthened with the coming of sound, when studios were set up in Hollywood, New York, and France devoted to making Spanish-language talkies for export. Nonetheless, Latin American countries with internal markets large enough to compete—Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico—developed industries of their own, specializing in films featuring local variants of popular film genres, including a distinctively Latin American variant of the exploitation film (see latsploitation), and films which, like the Brazilian chanchada, feature music and dance.
This page is a general guide to the cinema of Latin America. If the individual country you want does not have its own tab, use this page as your starting point. You can use the subject headings below to find resources in the online catalog. Some call number ranges are also included. You can do a subject search for specific countries in South or Central America and the Caribbean Region using the format, "motion pictures [insert name of country]." Please note: these are not the only call numbers, but they have the majority of items. These searches will also lead you to movie titles.
Jill Baron, the Spanish Language librarian, has put together resources under the Latin America LibGuide.
Articles and other writings about Latin American films can be found in many publications. Our collection includes several journals which look exclusively at Latin American film. You can use Film & Television Literature Index to find articles or use the search box at the top of the page.