22 October 2010 | ilpohirvonen
The Lack of Human Value
Fernando E. Solanas with Octavio Getino made a documentary about neocolonialism in Latin America. It's a very evocative film, a call to arms. It can be seen as a series of various themes of the revolution. The original version is 4 hours long clearly divided into three independent parts: I Neocolonialism and Violence (95 min), II The Liberation Struggle (120 min), III Violence and Liberation (45 min). But very often in Europe and the States we only see the first part, which might give a little limited picture of the subject - but I can't say for sure because I have only seen the first part in theaters.
The first part Neocolonialism and Violence is the second longest and divided into twelve sequences: History, Earth, Everyday violence, Port city - Buenos Aires, Oligarchy, System, Political violence, Neorascism, Dependence, Cultural violence, Ideological war and Alternative option, which ends up filming the face of the dead Che Guevara for 5 minutes.
The Hour of the Furnaces was very unique and original but on some level it reminded me of Santiago Alvarez's 79 Springs (1969), which proved that agitation can also be very intellectual. In the same way The Hour of the Furnaces is a synthesis of agitation and poetry. The art of editing and the use of montage is brilliant - the director clearly knows how to use this theory Eisenstein and Vertov created and defined.
Through montage Solanas achieved cinema poetry he managed to create mental associations and allegories by showing suffering cows and the imperialistic American mass products. I had already seen impressive films about colonialism and imperialism - to mention a few; Moi un noir (1958) about the imperialism in Ivory Coast by Jean Rouch, The Song of Ceylon (1934) about the colonialism in India by Basil Wright and Les statues meurent aussi (1953) about colonialism in Africa by Chris Marker and Alain Resnais. But none about the neocolonialism in Latin America the intention of The Hour of the Furnaces was clearly to wake up the people from the lethargy they were in. To show the reality and make the revolution happen. Obviously the filmmakers got there. Because I personally didn't know much about this and it was quite shocking to see it - a very eye opening and thought provoking experience.
The Hour of the Furnaces is perhaps the greatest and most intelligent agitation can be. It's a realistic description of the neocolonialism in Latin America and about the revolutionaries. It is not just aimed at one group of people, the film manages to speak to all the people. Solanas shows us a society where the price of human life is forgotten, where people do more work and make less money and the world with no human value.