The Dancer and the Thief (El Baile de la Victoria) | Los Angeles Public Library
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The Dancer and the Thief (El Baile de la Victoria)

In conversation with Verónica Cortínez
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Episode Summary

The prize-winning novelist (Il Postino)-for whom "neither life nor literature outside politics" is imaginable-sets his exuberant love story against the backdrop of the new Chile, free from the Pinochet dictatorship but prey to the perils of globalization.

Participant(s) Bio

Antonio Skármeta was born in Chile in 1940, the grandson of Dalmatian immigrants. Until 1973 he worked in Santiago as a literary and artistic director and a professor of literature as well as working for the press. In 1974, after the Pinochet coup, he went into exile in West Berlin. He had his internationally greatest success with Ardiente Paciencia, (Burning Patience, 1994). At first a radio play, a stage drama and screenplay, it finally appeared as a novel in 1985. Michael Radford's film version of the novel, entitled Il Postino (The Postman, 1994) won five Oscar nominations in 1994. In 1989, after the collapse of Pinochet's military dictatorship, the writer returned to Chile in order "to create political space for freedom". He produced an arts program on television which regularly attracted over a million viewers. Skármeta represented his homeland as Chilean ambassador between 2000 and 2003. For this work, he received the German Cross of Merit.

Verónica Cortínez (Ph.D. Harvard, 1990) is a Professor in the UCLA's Department of Spanish and Portuguese, where she teaches colonial and contemporary Latin American literature and Chilean film. In 1998 she was awarded the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award. She has twice served as Resident Director of the University of California's Education Abroad Program in Chile. She has written books on Bernal Díaz del Castillo, the Chilean novel, and filmmaker Sergio Castilla, and several articles on Isabel Allende, Jorge Luis Borges, and Carlos Fuentes. She is currently finishing a new book on Chilean film of the sixties.