HOUR OF THE…
A screening as part of THE COMBATIVE PHASE
Sunday May 7, 1pm
La Hora de los Hornos [The Hour of the Furnaces]
Octavio Getino and Fernando Solanas, 1968, 233 min., with two intermissions
Insert the work as an original fact in the process of liberation, place it first at the service of life itself, ahead of art; dissolve aesthetics in the life of society: only in this way, as [Frantz] Fanon said, can decolonization become possible and culture, cinema and beauty—at least, what is of greatest importance to us—become our culture, our films, and our sense of beauty.
—“Towards a Third Cinema,” Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino
On the release of La Hora de los Hornos [The Hour of the Furnaces] in the U.S. in 1971, New York Times critic Vincent Canby remarked that “…the work might well turn out to be a polemical epic, an essay film of a political, cinematic and psychological complexity unlike anything I’ve ever seen.” Authored by the Argentinean Cine Liberación Group (directors Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino) and produced clandestinely between 1966 and 1968 under the threat of reprisals by a military dictatorship, the film was initially shown in meetings of workers and activists, cultivating space for political debate and inciting action.
La Hora de los Hornos, and an essay written by Solanas and Getino in the aftermath of its production titled “Towards a Third Cinema: Notes and Experiences for the Development of a Cinema of Liberation in the Third World,” had great impact on the filmmakers and scholars at UCLA involved with the Ethno-communications program and the Third World Film Club. As reported by Ntongela Masilela, they considered the film, “perhaps the premier example of the interaction of film form and revolutionary ideology in the Third World Cinema.” Solanas and Getino articulated the theoretical stance of their essay, born out of the praxis of the film, as putting forward “ideas which may be useful in the debate over the use of film in non-liberated countries.”
La Hora de los Hornos is divided into three sections: “Notes and Testimonies on Neocolonialism, Violence and Liberation” (88 min); “Act for Liberation” (110 min); and “Violence and Liberation” (34 min). It forms an analysis of the social, economic, historical, and cultural aspects of life in Latin America, and particularly Argentina, in the 1960s, and the neo-colonial forces that defined them. Between sections of the film, the intertitle OPEN SPACE FOR DIALOGUE reflects the intent of the filmmakers towards the active formation of autonomous spaces of political dissent and self-determination.