Solanas, Fernando E. (1936–)

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Solanas, Fernando E. (1936–)

Fernando "Pino" Solanas is an Argentine film director, screenwriter, and producer whose films focus on the politics and contemporary history of his country. Born on February 16, 1936, in Olivos, Buenos Aires, Solanas received his training in theater at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art and then went into film in 1962. While working as a cartoon scriptwriter, he filmed his first short movies, Seguir andando (1962; Continue Walking) and Reflexión ciudadana (1963; Citizen Reflection). He also had great success in composing music for advertising jingles and founded a production company. In 1966, along with Octavio Getino, he began production on the film La hora de los hornos: Notas y testimonios sobre el neocolonialismo, la violencia y la liberación (The Hour of the Furnaces, 1968), which was filmed in secret because of the political situation in Argentina at the time. He worked for more than two years filming, in 16mm and without sound, this key work of liberation film, which was acclaimed for both its formal freedom and its political content. After completion of this film, he formed, along with Gerardo Vallejo, Octavio Getino, and Edgardo Pallero, the Liberation Film Group, which prepared a manifesto entitled Hacia un tercer cine (Toward a Third Cinema), which analyzed the relationships between film and politics. The group produced two documentaries on the life and political career of Juan Domingo Perón: Perón: Actualización política y doctrinaria para la toma del poder (1971; Perón: Political and Doctrine Update for the Taking of the Power) and Perón: La Revolución justicialista (1971).

Solanas later adapted José Hernández's literary work, Martín Fierro, for film, under the title Los hijos de Fierro (Fierro's Brothers, 1975). The 1976 military coup against the presidency of Isabel Perón forced him into exile in Europe. In 1985 he premiered his most critically acclaimed film, El exilio de Gardel (The Exile of Gardel, also known as Tangos), a French-Argentine co-production that recounts the story of a group of Argentines exiled in Paris. The film was praised for its free structure and its use of different narrative registers. Solanas later made the film Sur (The South, 1987), a metaphor on the return of democracy to Argentina. His political activity intensified during the presidency of Carlos Menem, whom he criticized harshly for his privatization plan. On May 22, 1991, Solanas was shot in the legs, presumably for his accusations against the government. In 1993 he was elected deputy for the province of Buenos Aires. His films El viaje (The Journey, 1990) and La nube (Clouds, 1998) offer different visions of the country and its return to constitutional governance. Memoria del saqueo (Social Genocide, 2003), in which he returns to the documentary genre, recounts the experiences of Argentines living in deep poverty and reflects the atmosphere of the country during the political, social, and economic crisis of December 2001 and during 2002.

In 2003 Solanas was awarded the Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement at the Berlin Film Festival. He continued to work in the documentary genre with La dignidad de los nadies (The Dignity of the Nobodies, 2005), about social activists striving to maintain solidarity in their acts of resistance. The film received four awards at the Venice Film Festival: the UNESCO award, Best Latin Film, Best Documentary, and the Human Rights Prize. He also wrote and directed the documentary Argentina latente (2007).

See alsoArgentina: The Twentieth Century; Cinema: From the Silent Film to 1990; Cinema: Since 1990; Menem, Carlos Saúl; Perón, Juan Domingo.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Solanas, Fernando, and Octavio Getino. "Towards a Third Cinema." In Movies and Methods: An Anthology, ed. Bill Nichols. Tuscon: University of Arizona Press, 1976.

Solanas, Fernando, et al. "Round Table Discussion: Latin American Cinema." Framework 11 (Fall 1979):10-15.

                                         Elena Moreira