Sixth International Conference on the Image

Clark Kerr Conference Center
University of California, Berkeley
29-30 October, 2015

Student Militancy and Documentary Film in Argentina

Since the late 1950s Latin American political documentary film has been at the forefront of innovation. Argentine filmmaker, Fernando Birri, of the Santa Fé Documentary School, presided over his students as they carried on their fieldwork, photographing the living conditions of working class families in the slums. The Santa Fé School photographs became a visual script for the filming of the influential film Tire Dié (1958). Shortly after the popular revolt of 2001 in Argentina, documentary filmmakers returned to these collaborative models to document demonstrations in the country and the prosecution of perpetrators of genocide. In my presentation, I will analyze Ernesto Ardito and Virna Molina’s El futuro es nuestro [The future is ours] (2014), a documentary series that reclaims the history of the forced disappearances of high school students during the dictatorship. The second film under consideration is Eran de colores [They were made of colors] (2012), a video project directed by students of the Nicolás Avellaneda High School in Buenos Aires that exhumes the identity and life stories of members of the student union that were disappeared. This short film concludes with flagstones being installed in the sidewalk in front of the school made by students and volunteers from the community. The flagstones mark the birth, and disappearance of alumni. To conclude, I will discuss Carmen Guarini’s Calles de la memoria [Streets of memory] (2012), a film that delves into the social significance of the labyrinth of repression, torture, and disappearance that the flagstones represent, and the efforts of activists and the community to memorialize the lives of political activists.

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