Digital technology has democratized the art of film making: Solanas

Digital technology has democratized the art of film making: Solanas

Digital technologies are democratizing the art of filmmaking and making it more accessible to everyone, celebrated Argentinean director Fernando Solanas said today. Talking to the media at the Hotel Apollo Dimora, on Thursday, the renowned film maker director voiced his appreciation of the fact that digital technology had made filmmaking cheaper and more accessible and recognized.

The director is here as part of the 24th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), and has been honoured with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He said his own documentaries, made with cheap equipment, were screened alongside high-budget films. Youngsters are also being attracted to filmmaking through the ease of capturing images on mobile phones, Solanas added.

He also spoke of his experiences as a revolutionary filmmaker in the tumultuous history of Argentina. Solanas witnessed Argentina’s transition from dictatorship to democracy. His films were made for the poorest and the most marginalized of his people so that they stood as a voice of dissent. For this dissent, he was often threatened and even survived attempted assassinations plotted by the government.

Solanas picked ‘The Hour of the Furnaces’ as one of his most political films. There was a great struggle to depict these films in Argentina and many a time, the film had to be screened privately in homes and party-offices.

For Solanas, filmmaking is an art of protest and it should be used as a weapon of de-colonization against the threat of ‘neoliberalism’ and ‘neo-colonialism’. These two forces have combined to create a wave of authoritarian and exploitative regimes around the world. He believed that it is the duty of a director to stand up for the common people.

Solanas elaborated on his manifesto “Towards a Third Cinema” which was developed out of his time spent in Argentina and in exile. He said that Third Cinema was a way of capturing national identity and the key to this identity lay in the language used. For this reason, films from different countries could not be compared to one another as the gestures, aesthetics and styles were too different. ‘Third Cinema’ is essentially a model that allows filmmakers to explore forms and structures outside the influence of giant film industries like Hollywood.

The director also spoke about some of his most prominent documentaries such as ‘Social Genocide’ and ‘Journey to the Fumigated Towns’ which won critical acclaim.  The latter is being shown at the 24th International Film Festival of Kerala and is a poignant depiction of the struggles of farmers in an agricultural industry that promotes toxic pesticides.

Terming cinema as “the art of the eye”, Solanas mentioned that cinema was a mirror of reality which filmmakers had to train themselves to capture with accuracy. Cinema is a powerful art that combines music, narrative and the theatrical arts. It is immortal. What we capture today on camera will be unchanged years later, he said.