Challenging the validity of The Hour of the Furnaces today, 50 years after its making, would be ignoring an obvious fact: their questioning will resound for a long time. Because today, when is no longer clandestine or censored, it hasn't lose one single fiber of its intensity, urgency and forcefulness, and because it still is a formal prodigy that challenges spectators with its combination of diverse cinematographic influences, quotes by intellectuals, revolutionaries and politicians who defied ideological orthodoxies, and mostly with its constant goal of transcending the barriers of the screen and transforming viewers into militants.
In "Neocolonialism and Violence", the first of three parts, the directing duet appealed both to Eisenstein and the advertising language Solanas worked with in his ad agency, although subverting its message: the film crudely and directly describes the life conditions of the lower classes throughout the country, while exposing the opulence and ideology of the oligarchy, and elements of the imperialist culture that sustain modern colonization and oppression over the most vulnerable ones. The end is one of the most unforgettable ones in the history of cinema: a fixed shot of Che Guevara. It was clear that the revolution proposed by the Film Liberation Group was both political and artistic.
The film was entirely made in secret, from the beginning of the shoot in 1965 -they didn't talk about the project nor filmed scenes publicly- until the editing. Solanas and editor Antonio Ripoll worked late nights with the same moviola that was later used by the Army Information Service at Alex laboratories. The montage of the two following parts was made in Rome, and the film premiered on June 2, 1968 at the Pesaro film festival, where it won the top prize and the acclaim of both audiences and critics. While the film continued on a triumphant path through international festivals -including the 1969 Cannes edition-, it was immediately censored in Argentina, and the first part would not be seen in theaters until 1973, when Getino became an auditor in the Cinematographic Rating Agency for a short time. Nevertheless, it is estimated that fifty copies were distributed underground during those years.
The complete version finally premiered in 1989. The restoration of this film, a project of National Image Cinematheque and Archive, was done at 4K by Gotika from the original negative film provided by the National Cinema and Audiovisual Arts Institute, and supervised by Solanas.
SUN 11 - 8 PM - PAS 4