Latinoamérica—The Time and the People: Memories, Passion, Work and Life
A Crucible of Cinema
In Latin America in the 1960s, legendary filmmakers appeared to explore a new cinema they called “Third Cinema.” Behind this movement lay the wave of suffering that had been unleashed across Latin America following Columbus’ “discovery” of the continent and the longstanding resistance of its peoples. The search for a new cinema did not stop in Latin America but was shared across what was referred to in the twentieth century as the “Third World”—though the notion of a “Third World” may already have become meaningless—Asia, Africa and Latin America.
In 1967, at a meeting at Chile’s inaugural Viña del Mar International Film Festival, Latin America’s filmmakers came together in one place for the first time. There Argentinia’s Fernando Solanas, Octavio Getino and Gerardo Vallejo formed the Grupo Cine Liberación (Liberation Film Group), which produced The Hour of the Furnaces (1968). The film was shown the following year at the first Latin American Film Forum in Mérida, Venezuela, alongside many other “Third Cinema” works. Colombia’s Marta Rodríguez, whose work we will also screen during this program, was another filmmaker enthusiastically caught up in the spirit of the times. These filmmakers joined in the passionate spirit of the era of decolonization, represented by the Cuban Revolution and the National Liberation Front in South Vietnam.
After completing The Hour of the Furnaces, Solanos and Getino wrote their manifesto “Towards a Third Cinema,”* where they analyzed the current state of film, and of the world. The manifesto referred to the Newsreel movement in the U.S., featured in a special program at YIDFF in 2003, and to films from the student movement in Japan by Ogawa Productions, as positive examples of the way film could contribute to revolution. The work of the Grupo Cine Liberación, along with that of Cinema Novo, Cuban revolutionary cinema and Bolivia’s Grupo Ukamau, who all shared the idea of a “Third Cinema,” contributed to the rise of the New Latin American Cinema.
The emphasis in this program is on works from the 1960s–80s, rarely screened in Japan, that were produced in Argentina and Chile, the southern cone of Latin America. The six-part program will also include films from Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Uruguay, and Panama some of them made since the year 2000. We hope you will join us in bearing witness to the blistering 1960’s, and confronting a contemporary world that is still alive with memory. Just listen and watch, and you will certainly find the resonances between the past and the present. The bright light that shines out of Latin America obliterates the borders between nations and islands and transcends time and space. Its many colors vividly reflect the world we inhabit, here and now.
* The Japanese translation first appeared in the Jan-Feb edition of the journal Eiga Hihyo (Film Criticism) in 1973.