Reimagining Puerto Rican History in Seva Vive
Studies in Documentary Film
Luis López Nieves' short story Seva published in the newspaper Claridad in 1983 narrates the discovery of a hidden truth of the Spanish-American War of 1898: the inhabitants of the town Seva fought bravely against the invading American forces and were subsequently slaughtered. Taken as fact by some of the newspaper's readers, the story engaged the polemic intersection of popular memory, historical record, and colonial power. Released in 2008, Francisco Serrano's internationally acclaimed film Seva Vive uses digital technology to recast the interpretive practice of history undergirding Seva. This article combines an analysis of the film's use of documentary footage, photographs, digital technology, interviews, and literary text. It relies on current theorizations of adaptation, archive and authenticity to understand how the film's visual aesthetic of play denaturalizes the process by which history appears to us as true. The film visualizes the selective processes that produce historical accounts of colonizer and colonized, thus decoupling authenticity and the colonized subject.
Frohlich, Margaret Gates. "Reimagining Puerto Rican History in Seva Vive." Studies in Documentary Film 8, no. 2 (2014): 156-168. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17503280.2014.908496