This Dissertation explores the imagery, spaces, and narrative strategies related to the portraying of “sicarios” or contract killers through a selection of films produced in Spain, Colombia, and Brazil between 1990 and 2010. Titles of films under discussion include Nadie hablará de nosotras cuando hayamos muerto (Agustín Díaz Yanes, 1995), O homem do ano (José Henrique Fonseca, 2003), and Rosario Tijeras (Emilio Maillé, 2005). These films provide a ground in which analyzing the intersections between national cinematographies as well as the interplay between cinema, literature, and other kinds of cultural expressions.
Using the theoretical framework of studies of trauma, this dissertation reassesses the concept and application of the term ‘trauma’ in order to provide a deeper understanding of the proliferation of contract killers and the cultural manifestations in which they have been central in the past decades. Contract killers represent both individual and social traumas in a concrete and a metaphorical way. These narratives are a way to deal with a reality in which contract killers, and furthermore the dead, and are an integral part of every day life. By telling, or retelling, a particular trauma, society attempts to resolve whatever may now lie in its wake.
These representations depict a complex mapping of narratives of violence, globalization, and postmodernism that have redefined such notions as identity, social class, global/local dynamics, and transnational exchanges. At the same time, these films provide a wide range of implications of these representations, such as the connection within traumatic collective memories and the social reality, as well as the connections between mafia groups, drug trafficking, and contract killers in the current world. The study of the films analyzed in this Dissertation within the theoretical framework of trauma is, therefore, an exceptional vehicle for gaining a better understanding of the phenomenon of contract killers in its multiple dimensions.