Octavio Getino & Fernando E. Solanas – La hora de los hornos AKA The Hour of the Furnaces (1968)

Nicole Brenez for BFI wrote:
Made in Argentina in 1968, The Hour of the Furnaces (La hora de los hornos) is the film that established the paradigm of revolutionary activist cinema. “For the first time,” said one of its writers, Octavio Getino, “we demonstrated that it was possible to produce and distribute a film in a non-liberated country with the specific aim of contributing to the political process of liberation.” The film is not just an act of courage, it’s also a formal synthesis, a theoretical essay and the origin of several contemporary image practices. Read More »

Enrique Juárez – Ya es tiempo de violencia AKA Now is the Time for Violence (1969)

Produced illegally, this is a radical, anti- American agit-prop documentary, filled with amazing sequences of large-scale, violent, unreported street riots in several Argentinian cities. The film is a testimony to the power of censorship — and the need for clandestine filmmakers to counteract it. Read More »

Hugo del Carril – Más allá del olvido AKA Beyond Oblivion (1956)

Más allá del olvido (Beyond Oblivion) is one of the best films made in Argentina and the best Hugo del Carril directed. Based on the novel Bruges-la-Morte by Georges Rodenbach, this melodrama tells the story of Fernando (del Carril) that cannot get over the premature death of his beloved wife Blanca, so he decides to embark on an extended trip to Paris. There, he meets Monica (Laura Hidalgo), in every way an exact duplicate of his late wife, except that she’s a brazen woman of the streets. No matter; Fernando is soon hopelessly in love and intent on bringing her back home and making her into the woman she’s supposed to be; for her part, Monica imagines that she may have stumbled upon a very good deal. Read More »

Tomás Gutiérrez Alea – Cartas del parque AKA Letters from the Park (1988)

Matanzas, Cuba, 1913. Two young people who are in love communicate through letters written by penman. When the young man leaves town, to become a pilot, the girl discovers she is really in love with the one who wrote the letters. Read More »

Fernando E. Solanas – Argentina latente AKA Dormant Argentina (2007)

Part 3 of the series preceded by Memoria del saqueo & La dignidad de los nadies, and followed by La tierra sublevada.

Two years ago I very favorably reviewed the Argentinian documentarian Fernando E. Solanas’ Dignity of the Nobodies, shown at the 2006 SFIFF. This new work by Solanas deals with exploitation of his country from outside and how Argentina can get out from under that and become a strong, rich, independent country. My heading for Dignity was “Chaotic and grainy, but for some of us, essential viewing.” This one isn’t so grainy, and it’s still essential. Read More »

Fernando E. Solanas – Memoria del saqueo AKA Social Genocide [+Extra] (2004)

“Memoria del saqueo” – literally, “Memory of the looting”, but it’s worth stopping here for a second because there’s an intention there that’s lost in translation. During the 2001 crisis, sensationalist media loved to show images of common looting taking place (people taking stuff out of supermarkets – if it’s a big TV, all the better). The title of the film subverts this common usage of the word “looting” in this context, to direct it to the systematic looting of the national riches by the ruling classes, as explained below.

Part of a sequence of four documentaries: Memoria del saqueo, La dignidad de los nadies, Argentina latente and La tierra sublevada. Read More »

Lisandro Alonso – Liverpool (2008)

A sailor, Farrel, leaves his ship and begins a lengthy journey to wintry Tierra del Fuego’s interior, to an isolated village and family that he hasn’t seen in years. The route seems familiar to him, and we gradually piece together his relationship with the people and community he finds there. From the opening sequences on Farrel’s ship, to the spectacular harshness of his destination, Alonso is meticulous in mapping the sights and sounds of the landscape and Farrel’s personal journey into the past. Read More »