The book EL SIGLO DEL VIENTO, the third part of a trilogy about the history of Latin America, is not a traditional historical work. The Uruguayan writer and journalist Eduardo Galeano (1940) was even exiled for a long time to prevent his headstrong and critical style from becoming too famous. His style, which combines dry facts about the exploitation, the oppression and the violence in South America with individual anecdotes and literary creativity, is preserved in the documentary that Fernando Birri adapted from the book. In ‘chapters‘, each dealing with a certain period in the history of this century, an image is created of a continent that is constantly afflicted by setbacks and misery. A continent that threatens to go down, but where the people always rise again to fight against injustice and poverty. Archive footage of historical figures such as Salvador Allende, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro illustrates the key episodes in the history. The film also draws a link with North America: in short scenes, Birri refers to the icons of the 20th century, from Rita Hayworth and Elvis Presley to John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Eduardo Galeano appears as the narrator. His sonorous voice guides the spectator through the history. A recurring element in the film is a puppet play, made by cartoon filmmaker Walter Tournier, around the historical figure of Miguel Marm籀l, a man who dies several times, but time and again rises from his ashes. This Marm籀l is the personification of Latin America, which brims over with life force, despite everything.
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