What Influenced Argentine Cinema’s Tango of Film and Politics?

Argentine cinema has developed a distinctive relationship with political themes, a reflection of the nation’s tumultuous political history and vibrant cultural identity. Since the 1960s, Argentine films have been marked by the influences of Marxist thought and the principles of Third Cinema. This movement, which originated in Latin America, advocates for cinema as a means of promoting social change, employing radical aesthetic techniques and narratives to challenge existing social structures and empower disenfranchised communities.

These films not only address and critique social and political issues but also contribute to shaping national identity. By intertwining the nation’s complex history with its cultural expressions, Argentine cinema fosters a critical dialogue among the public about pressing social matters. This interaction between film and politics in Argentina has created a cinematic tradition that is both transformative and deeply expressive, enriching viewers’ understanding of the country’s social dynamics.

Key Takeaways

  • Argentine cinema, particularly prominent during the 1960s and 1970s, was heavily influenced by Marxist and revolutionary ideologies.
  • During this period, filmmakers leveraged the medium as a tool for social activism and political discourse, reflecting and challenging the prevailing state policies and censorship.
  • The films produced under these influences were crafted as responses to the political environment, aiming to both represent and provoke thought about societal issues.
  • The movement known as Third Cinema emerged in Argentina with a focus on empowering marginalized communities and fostering social change through film.
  • Nationalism and the pursuit of distinct cultural identity were central themes, significantly influencing the narratives and visual styles of Argentine cinema.

Historical Roots of Third Cinema

Historical Roots of Third Cinema

In the 1960s and 1970s, Argentina’s Third Cinema emerged as a revolutionary film movement aimed at promoting social change through cinematic expression, influenced by Marxist and other revolutionary ideologies. Films from this movement drew on the principles of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tse-Tung’s cultural nationalism, and Che Guevara’s voluntarism, forming a framework that transcended traditional filmmaking to initiate societal transformation.

The Grupo Cine Liberación, central to this movement, used cinema as a tool for political change, crafting films that revealed and critiqued national realities often obscured or misrepresented by mainstream media. They employed radical aesthetic techniques, including narrative fragmentation and open-ended plots, to actively engage viewers and encourage them to question and alter the status quo.

This movement redefined cinema from mere entertainment to a collective call to action, positioning each film as a catalyst within a broader agenda for social revolution. Each screening wasn’t just a viewing experience but a potential trigger for collective mobilization and change.

Political Movements and Film

Political movements have profoundly influenced Argentine cinema, with filmmakers reflecting the nation’s complex history through their work. As a filmmaker, you aren’t merely creating art; you’re embedding Argentine political ideologies and activism within your films. This process isn’t only artistic but also serves as a medium for resistance and societal transformation.

In Argentina, filmmakers often navigate through challenging state policies and censorship, historically imposed by various regimes to suppress dissent. Despite these obstacles, Argentine filmmakers have consistently used their craft as a platform for social commentary, challenging oppressive structures and fostering public dialogue.

The relationship between film and politics in Argentina has given rise to distinctive cinematic styles. These styles are more than artistic expressions; they’re deliberate responses to the prevailing political environment. Your films engage audiences on a deeper level, serving not only as entertainment but also as poignant reflections and critiques of current social conditions.

Key Ideological Influences

Marxist ideology profoundly influenced Argentine cinema, particularly evident in the Third Cinema movement led by filmmakers like Solanas and Getino. Their films, beyond mere entertainment, served as catalysts for social awareness and political activism, aiming to highlight societal injustices and inspire change.

This filmmaking radicalization was shaped by the cultural nationalism inspired by figures such as Che Guevara and Mao Tse-Tung. Argentine filmmakers embedded a spirit of resistance and a call for reform in their work, resonating with a society experiencing intense ideological debates.

Additionally, these ideological influences prompted filmmakers to innovate aesthetically, moving away from conventional narratives towards a fusion of film and politics. This approach wasn’t just about storytelling but about stimulating discourse and questioning existing social structures. Thus, the intertwining of Marxist principles, cultural nationalism, and a radical ethos transformed Argentine cinema into a significant medium for social critique and potential change.

Nationalism and Cultural Identity

Nationalism and Cultural Identity

While Marxist ideology broadly addressed political dissent, Argentine cinema enriched its cultural landscape, reflecting the nation’s complex history and pursuit of a unique identity. Argentine films, intertwined with political and social narratives, are not only forms of entertainment but also vital tools for expressing and shaping nationalistic sentiments.

In the midst of political upheaval, filmmakers became storytellers of cultural identity, integrating nationalistic elements into their films to challenge prevailing narratives and push for social reform. This engagement went beyond mere depiction of local scenery or traditional attire; it was an earnest effort to encapsulate the Argentine essence on film, thereby influencing societal power dynamics and representation.

Let’s examine the representation of these elements in Argentine cinema:

Aspect Influence on Cinema
Political Movements Films often mirror ongoing or past political conflicts
Social Change Cinema acts as a medium for promoting and reflecting societal shifts
Cultural Heritage Highlighting traditions and heritage reinforces national identity

Impact on Society and Culture

Argentine cinema has significantly impacted the nation’s society and culture by depicting key historical events and social issues. These films not only entertain but also stimulate critical discussions and promote societal change.

For example, ‘La hora de los hornos’ and ‘Los Hijos de Fierro’ are emblematic of Third Cinema, aiming to catalyze social change. These works prioritize the empowerment of marginalized communities, amplifying voices that are typically underrepresented in mainstream media.

Through such films, Argentine cinema fosters a dialogue that challenges existing paradigms and encourages political and social transformation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the New Argentine Cinema Movement?

The New Argentine Cinema movement, which emerged in the 1990s, is renowned for addressing social issues through innovative storytelling. Directors such as Lucrecia Martel and Pablo Trapero are central figures in this movement, known for their departure from conventional narratives to explore deeper societal themes.

Does Argentina Have a Film Industry?

Yes, Argentina has an established film industry, which produces around 100 films each year. This industry is bolstered by the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA), which is a reflection of Argentina’s rich cultural diversity. Argentina’s cinema is internationally recognized for its distinctive narrative style and artistic creativity.

What Is the New Latin American Cinema Movement?

The New Latin American Cinema movement significantly transformed film by emphasizing social issues and opting for realistic portrayals over Hollywood’s polished narratives. This movement, emerging primarily during the 1960s and 1970s, focused on authentic Latin American experiences and socio-political challenges, offering a critical lens on issues pertinent to the region.


Argentine cinema intertwines tango and politics, reflecting the country’s historical and ideological intricacies. Not merely for entertainment, Third Cinema served as a medium for political engagement and shaping national identity. Through these films, viewers experience a portrayal of resistance and national pride, offering a distinct perspective on Argentina’s complex relationship between film and politics.