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Ism, Ism, Ism: Diego Rísquez’ Amérika Trilogy, part 3: Amérika, Terra Incógnita

Ism, Ism, Ism: Diego Rísquez’ Amérika Trilogy, part 3: Amérika, Terra Incógnita

Amérika, Terra Incógnita

Monday, November 20, 2017, 8:30pm

Los Angeles Filmforum and REDCAT present

Ism, Ism, Ism: Diego Rísquez’ Amérika Trilogy, part 3: Amérika, Terra Incógnita

At REDCAT, 631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

35mm print!  Please note Diego Risquez won't be able to attend. 

For more information: visit and or call 323-377-7238 or 213-237-2800

In the 1980s, the multifaceted artist, painter and filmmaker from Venezuela, Diego Rísquez, undertook the daunting project of a trilogy about the real and mythical histories of the Latin American continent and made his first feature film: Bolivar, Tropikal Symphony, which became the first Super 8 film to be selected for the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival.  The third film of the trilogy, Amérika, Terra Incógnita (1988), originally shot in Super 16mm and later blown-up to 35mm, is composed in tableaux vivants offering a visual journey into the reverse perspective of European colonialism - the journey of a captive Indian into the Spanish court.

Note that you DO NOT need to have seen earlier parts in the trilogy to see later parts.  There is not a continuous narrative.

Program curated by Jesse Lerner and Luciano Piazza.

“With stunningly rich and complex visual images, Rísquez’ films eschew all dialogue yet present a coherent and critical reinterpretation of Venezuelan history.” —Ana M. López

“For Diego Rísquez, cinema is first and foremost an art of the layout, and one feels, in every shot, the fun he’s had had, before the filming itself, in organizing his display cabinet, his accumulation of objects, or his tableau vivant. Then filming becomes a matter of giving a caressing look by promenading his camera over the surface of things, offering the audience the pleasure he is experiencing at gazing upon his own ‘composition’… From one scene to the next, the film oscillates between a kitsch version of Méliès and a lyrical vision that often reaches real greatness, with breathtaking flashes of beauty.” – Alain Bergala

“Rísquez eschews (not without humor) the hagiographic dimension of the ‘myth of the noble savage’ to focus on the mutual fascination between two different cultures, two different ways of seeing and understanding the world. Rather than a humanist, progressive work, filled with good intentions, Amérika, Terra Incógnita is a long waking dream, baroque, flamboyant, and uncannily astonishing… Risquez achieves a strange surreal synthesis – of colors and movement, with a powerful ‘return of the past’ (accentuated by a tilted, increasingly oneiric framing). The final union of the ‘Native’ and the Infanta (played by a wonderful Maria Louisa Mosquera) brings a happy and fanciful conclusion to this story, completing the Trilogy.” Cahiers du cinéma

Tickets: $12 general; $9 REDCAT Members; $6 for Cal Arts students/Filmforum members. Available in advance at or at the door.


Amérika, Terra Incógnita

Diego Rísquez

1988, 35mm, 90 min., color, sound, Venezuela

Directed by Diego Risquez; screenplay by Luis A. Duque and Mr. Risquez; edited by Leonardo Henriquez; director of cinematography, Andres Agusti; music by Alejandro Blanco Uribe.

Diego Rísquez (b. 1949, Juan Griego, Venezuela) is a multifaceted artist, painter and filmmaker, who has been actively working in the film world for the past five decades. One of the most significant auteurs of experimental cinema in Venezuela, Diego Rísquez Cupello (born December 15, 1949, in Juan Griego, Venezuela) studied social communication at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, but left to devote himself to the theater, taking acting classes with Levy Rosell. In 1974, he moved to Paris where he joined Emilio Galli’s theater company. In addition to his career as an actor, he worked as a photographer for the Galerie Atica. Returning to Caracas in 1975, he got involved in painting and sculpture and completed his first super 8 shorts. He achieved international recognition the experimental trilogy on the European conquest of South America, His first feature, Bolívar, sinfonía tropical (Bolívar, Tropical Symphony, 1979) was showcased at Directors Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival, first in 1981 (in super-8), then in 1982 (blown up to 35mm). His second feature, Orinoko, Nuevo Mundo (Orinoko, New World), was also presented at Directors Fortnight in 1984 – as was Amérika, Terra Incógnita, the third part of the Trilogy, in 1988.

Selected Filmography:

  • El entierro de los valores (The burial of values, 1970)
  • El misterioso secuestro de las gafas negras (The mysterious abduction of the sunglasses, 1973)
  • A propósito de Simón Bolívar (With regard to Simón Bolívar, 1976)
  • Poema para ser leído bajo el agua (Poem to be read under water, 1977)
  • A propósito de la luz tropical (With regard to the tropical light ,1978)
  • Bolívar, sinfonía tropikal (Bolívar, Tropical Symphony, 1979)
  • A propósito del hombre (On the subject of man, 1979)
  • Orinoko, nuevo mundo (Orinoko, New World, 1984)
  • Amérika, terra incógnita (1988)
  • Karibe con tempo (Karibe with time, 1994)
  • Manuela Sáenz (2000)
  • Francisco de Miranda (2006)
  • Reverón (2011)
  • El malquerido (2015)

John King in Magic Reels shares his thoughts on why Risquez became an international cult figure:  "Risquez shows an expansive imagination in creating sweeping, sensual, painterly canvases with very few resources: basic equipment and a group of non-professional actors, mainly friends, who take on the roles of emblematic figures of history and myth.”

This screening is part of Los Angeles Filmforum’s screening series Ism, Ism, Ism: Experimental Cinema in Latin America (Ismo, Ismo, Ismo: Cine experimental en América Latina). Ism, Ism, Ism is an unprecedented, five-month film series—the first in the U.S.—that surveys Latin America’s vibrant experimental production from the 1930s through today. Revisiting classic titles and introducing recent works by key figures and emerging artists, Ism, Ism, Ism takes viewers on a journey through a wealth of materials culled from unexpected corners of Latin American film archives. Key historical and contemporary works from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, México, Paraguay, Perú, Uruguay, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the United States will be featured. Many of the works in the series are largely unknown in the United States and most screenings will include national and area premieres, with many including Q&A discussions with filmmakers and scholars following the screening. The film series will continue through January 2018 at multiple venues, organized by Filmforum.

Ism, Ism, Ism is accompanied by a bilingual publication, Ism, Ism, Ism / Ismo, Ismo, Ismo: Experimental Cinema in Latin America (Jesse Lerner and Luciano Piazza, editors, University of California Press, 2017) placing Latino and Latin American experimental cinema within a broader dialogue that explores different periods, cultural contexts, image-making models, and considerations of these filmmakers within international cinema. Available worldwide,

Ism, Ism, Ism is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Explore more at,, and

Lead support for Ism, Ism, Ism is provided through grants from the Getty Foundation.

Significant additional support comes from the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts.

Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.


is located at 631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 - at the corner of 2nd and Hope Streets inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. Parking is available in the Walt Disney Concert Hall parking structure and at adjacent lots. Unless otherwise specified, tickets are $12 for the general public, $9 for members. Tickets may be purchased by calling 213.237.2800 or at or in person at the REDCAT Box Office on the corner of 2nd and Hope Streets (30 minutes free parking with validation). Box Office Hours: Tue-Sat | noon–6 pm and two hours prior to curtain.


This program is supported by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles. We also depend on our members, ticket buyers, and individual donors.

Los Angeles Filmforum is the city’s longest-running organization dedicated to weekly screenings of experimental film, documentaries, video art, and experimental animation. 2017 is our 42nd year.

Memberships available, $70 single, $115 dual, or $50 single student

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Amerika 3

Amérika, Terra Incógnita

Amérika, Terra Incógnita

Diego Rísquez

1988, 35mm, 90 min., color, sound, Venezuela

Directed by Diego Risquez; screenplay by Luis A. Duque and Mr. Risquez; edited by Leonardo Henriquez; director of cinematography, Andres Agusti; music by Alejandro Blanco Uribe.