martes, 25 de enero de 2011

Woody Allen, Osvaldo Budet and Puerto Rican Identity

What is a Puerto Rican? No easy answer can be given to this centuries old question. A complex and heterogeneous mixture of West African, Mediterranean and Amerindian ethnicities cannot account for 500 years of dialectical oscillations. Many historical dynamics made possible the utterance of words like 'boricua' or 'niuyorican'. 'Puerto Rican' is as elusive and inapprehensible as 'art'.

For puertorican artists and academics, this condition is valued and cherished.

National identity can be a psychological burden in need of constant clarification and justification. For Osvaldo Budet, this 'burden' is his muse. If there is such a thing as a puertorrican identity, Budet has tapped many of its psychoanalytically arcane particularities in his art.

Bilingualism, multiculturalism and cinema, are cultural and esthetic means that make possible the cath[art]ic  value of his work. His diasporic symptom and cinematic appreciation are evident in oeuvres like My First Time with Obama (2009) and Jayuya 1950.

In light of the aforementioned argument, it can be said that Allen’s Zelig has been creatively assimilated by the puertorican artist.

Puetoricans deal with many of the discourses exposed on this film. The protracted condition of colonialism, eventual migratory movements and a passionate thirst for recognition, have given puertoricans, boricuas and niuyoricans alike, a chameleonic ability worthy of Zelig's envy.

Budet and his work speak volumes to a generation of artists that share his 'burden' and symptoms. A generation that progressively embraces the malleability of their ever changing condition.