Thoughts on Argentina's Conjunctures :: Recuperating Work, Recovering Life (2005-2007)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

"Militancy in Images": A long lost documentary about the Cordobazo of May-June 1969, Argentina's May '68, is recovered and screened

On Saturday the Latin American Museum of Art in Buenos Aires(MALBA) screened a long lost documentary looking at El Cordobazo of 1969, pieced together from footage taken at the time and edited in clandestinity. It was confiscated and "disappeared" by the military dictatorships of 1976-1983. On December 10, 1976, Enrique Juarez, the film's militant director, was also disappeared by the dictatorship. Juarez's feature on the major events of El Cordobazo, Ya es tiempo de violencia (Now Is the Time for Violence) (1969), and his short La desconocida (The Unknown One) (1962) were recently restored and remastered. A copy of Ya es tiempo de violencia, as it turned out, was found in the the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (Cuban Institute for Art and Cinema) in Havana, Cuba, Ana Bianco of Pagina/12 relates. Bianco further writes: "Fernando Krichmar, from Cine Insurgente (Isurgent Cinema), brought the found copy to Buenos Aires and APROCINAIN (Argentina Association for the Support of Audiovisual Patrimony) was able to create another negative for its preservation."

Juarez's film is part of a long tradition of underground and anonymous activist cinema in Argentina where the aim was to erase any sign of individual authorship (one could call it "imperceptible authorship"). Instead, creators would opt for processes of collective creation. Their reasoning was both political and practical - anonymous authorship was both an ethico-political positioning of the creator as well as being a matter of safety and protection in a society where the eyes of dictators, censors, and repressors were always close by. Such collectives in Argentina with roots in the alternative cinema movement of the 1960s and 1970s include Grupo Cine Liberación (the Liberation Film Group) and Grupo Cine de la Base (The Base Film Group). Contemporary examples of this collective and imperceptible authorship in Argentina, inspired by these older organizations, include groups such as Colectivo Situaciones, Lavaca, Grupo Alavio, and AgoraTV. As Lucio Mufud writes, the collective authorship movement of the 1960s and 1970s was, "among other things, about erasing any authorial mark. It concerned itself, on the one hand, with protecting the militant creators from state repression. But it was also about having their voice coincide with the 'voice of the people.'" (see Mufud 2007).

To read more on Juarez, his recently found film, and the Argentine film collectives, see: La militancia en imágenes

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