Two years ago, Fernando E. Solanas came to the Tribeca Film Festival with A Social Genocide, his analysis of the role that globalization and neoliberalism played in Argentina's economic disaster. Now the great director is back with a companion film, The Dignity of the Nobodies, that takes the viewer deep into the heart of human suffering and rebellion. This exhilarating work celebrates the individual and collective reactions of normal Argentines when suddenly faced with poverty, and demonstrates how a seemingly inflexible reality can be made to bend. Solanas does not concentrate on how the poor are victimized, but rather on how they have managed to win small but telling victories. One key storyline focuses on indebted farmers in the pampas who are being forced off their ancestors' lands by foreclosure on their mortgages. Many of these farmers have committed suicide, and the climate is one of helplessness until one woman decides to disrupt the auction of her own farm by singing the national anthem. To date, more than a thousand auctions have been called off with simple tactics just like this. In Patagonia, factory workers who were laid off when their plant shut down have begun to run the place themselves. Amazingly, workers have reopened 160 factories so far. These upbeat stories are real eye-openers, and the film ends with a rousing final call to action and resistance. The Dignity of the Nobodies is essential viewing for anyone who wants to understand the human factor behind Argentina's headlines.
Fernando E. Solanas was born in Olivos, Argentina, in 1936. In 1968, he directed La Hora de los Hornos (The Hour of the Furnaces), a three-part political documentary that had to be screened clandestinely in his own country and for which he won the Critics' Prize at that year's Pesaro Film Festival. Solanas has written widely about militant cinema. In 1975, he finished his first fiction film Los Hijos de Fierro (The Sons of Fierro) about the life of Argentine poet Martín Fierro. After the Argentine military coup in 1976, Solanas moved to Paris. His Tangos: El Exilio de Gardel (Tangos: Gardel's Exile) won awards at the Venice Film Festival, and subsequent films like Sur (South) and Memoria del Saqueo (A Social Genocide) (TFF 2004) earned him further international recognition.