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Latin American Political Cinema

Friday, June 22, 1979
7:30 p.m. The Hour of the Furnaces (La Hora De Los Hornos) Part One: Neocolonialism and Violence plus Chile in the Heart
Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino
Allan Francovich (Argentina,1968)

The Hour of the Furnaces is a contemporary film classic, hailed by many critics as the Potemkin of the Latin American cinema, and widely acclaimed as one of the most emotionally powerful, cinematically innovative and politically informative documentary films ever made.

The film was produced clandestinely in Argentina over a two-year period from 1966 to 1968 during which its makers, Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino, travelled throughout the country, filming scenes in many different locales, as well as over 180 hours of interviews with workers, intellectuals, labor leaders, students, and many others. Over 80 hours of newsreel footage documenting Juan Peron’s rise to power, his years as the country’s leader, and his eventual military overthrow, were also gathered. This material was then assembled in a format making imaginative use of the entire arsenal of modern cinematic techniques. The result is a remarkable 4 hour and 20 minute presentation on the liberation struggle being waged throughout Latin America, using Argentina as a historical model for the colonialist, neo-colonialist and imperialist exploitation of the continent and its potential today for mass revolutionary action.

The first part is a historical, geographic and economic analysis of Argentina, separated into a prologue and thirteen separate “notes” or film essays on the Argentine situation.

• Directed by Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino. Produced by Grupo Cine Liberacion. (1968, 95 mins, 35mm, English titles, Print from Tricontinental Films)


Chile in the Heart

Chile in the Heart
is an affectionate look at Pablo Neruda, his poetry and life and the three years of Popular Unity government in Chile from 1970 until 1973. Combining historical footage of demonstrations and public appearances, the film unfolds a view of Neruda as poet and intellectual, as well as a deeply committed political person. Ginsberg’s reading of Neruda’s poems, in his own, inimitable style, provides additional impetus to a most heartwarming and dedicated recollection.

• Directed by Allan Francovich. Produced by Isla Negra Films. Neruda’s poems read by Allen Ginsberg. (1978, 50 mins, Spanish dialogue with English subtitles, Print from Tricontinental Films)