Every time we sit in front of a silent Argentine film screening is, sadly, an unusual situation, as 90% of national silent cinema remains lost. And the few productions that survived allow us to both witness the record of an era and its customs and also observe the innovations our cinema has introduced ever since its beginnings. Alcides Greca’s The Last Indian Attack, released a hundred years ago, is a great example of this.
In 1904, the Mocovi tribe attacked the town of San Javier, and the media described that as an uprising. In order to recreate the event, Greca used many different and atypical resources for the time: the film was shot in that same town where it actually happened, he told the story from the point of view of the native peoples and the cast included only one professional actress -Rosa Paiquí- among the many inhabitants of San Javier and surviving Mocovies, who returned, eighteen years later, to their roles during the events. Thus, the director ventures into ethnographic cinema ahead of time, constantly erasing the limits between fiction and documentary and also making his own role visible: the Mocovies are reconstructing their history under the command and the script of a white man, and the film is crossed by that tension between portraying the injustices suffered by the Mocovies, and its own civilizing gaze.
The history of the preservation of this film goes back to 1956, when director Fernando Birri screened it at the School of Documentary Cinema of Santa Fe, in a 35mm print donated by the Greca family. From that copy, technician Fernando Vigévano made a reduction to 16mm for a screening at the Cine Club Rosario. The Pablo Ducrós Hicken Film Museum in Buenos Aires kept this last copy and made two digitization: the first one was in 2009 for Mosaico Criollo, the first anthology of Argentine silent films, released by the Museum along with the National Film and Audiovisual Arts Institute, coordinated by Paula Félix-Didier -director of the Museum- and Fernando Martín Peña.
The second one is what the audiences in Mar del Plata will be able to see, one with higher quality thanks to new available technologies: the 16mm print was scanned in 4K quality at Leche laboratories, and the digital restoration was done by Florencia Giacomini, Andrés Levinson and Carolina Cappa from the Film Museum. Viewers will be able enjoy this screening a hundred years after its premiere, along with Maia Koening’s live soundtrack.
WED 14 - 19:30 - PAS 2