Hearing the Nonhuman: Defamiliarizing Sound and Image in Lo que soñó Sebastián

Carolyn H Fornoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores how Rodrigo Rey Rosa’s directorial debut, Lo que soñó Sebastián [What Sebastian Dreamt] (2004), crafts a cinematic imaginary of Guatemala’s Petén jungle. Rather than simply depict the Petén as a passive stage or mise-en-scène for the unfolding human drama, the film endows the jungle with agency, underscoring the interconnectedness of human and nonhuman life. It does so on a narrative level by probing the complicated ethics of environmentalism and the inevitability of complicity. It also does so through experimental cinematic techniques. The ludic distortion of natural sound and unexpected point-of-view shots work together to trouble the viewer’s expectation of how we might see or feel this place.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages17
Issue number34
StatePublished - 2017


  • Ecocriticism
  • film studies
  • sound studies
  • Guatemala
  • ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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