Argentina | 118 MINUTES
A SOCIAL GENOCIDE
For over 30 years, Fernando E. Solanas has been using the medium of film to observe the political and social realities of life in his native Argentina. His sensational debut The Hour of the Furnaces (La Hora de Los Hornos) (1967) became a beacon of political documentary filmmaking throughout Latin America. His latest film focuses on the Argentinean crisis of recent years and the devastating consequences of globalization, neo-liberal economics, and corruption on this once-rich country. It is at one level agitprop filmmaking and at another level an inventive historical and ideological film essay. With Furnaces it shares a veritable arsenal of formal elements yielding its rich and grand, almost operatic, style. The material is divided into chapters separated by black spaces and inter-titles and graphics, in an intentional homage to silent cinema. Carefully constructed sound effects, the recurrent leitmotifs of a rich music soundtrack by Geraldo Gandini, the seductive traveling shots opening into glorious master shots, and the pointed use of wide-angle shots all serve to give an extraordinary aesthetic unity to the wildly heterogeneous sources of information. This is a quintessentially auteur film made all the more forceful by the first-person narration of Solanas himself, who pulls off the miracle of reaching both our hearts and our intellects. This year, both the Berlin and the Mar del Plata Film Festivals honored Solanas with Life Achievement Awards and Galas -- and to that all an observer can say is "Bravo, my friends, bravo."