Scen.: Octavio Getino, Fernando E. Solanas. F.: Juan Carlos Desanzo. M.: Juan Carlos Macías, Antonio Ripoll, Fernando E. Solanas. Mus.: Roberto Lar, Fernando E. Solanas. Int.: María de la Paz, Fernando E. Solanas, Edgardo Suárez (narratori). Prod.: Grupo Cine Liberatión, Cinesur. DCP. D.: 85’. Bn.
Pesaro, June 1968. One scene in particular is repeated in stories about the international premiere of the film by Argentinean filmmakers Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino: the audience, after seeing the first part and moved by its expressive power, interrogated by the face of Che Guevara’s corpse in extreme close-up, accompanied by a deafening percussion rhythm, stood up screaming and carried the directors out on their shoulders. Recollections unite this scene to the agitation of 1968 on the streets of Pesaro, and the confluence in a demonstration that ended in clashes with fascist groups and the police and the detention of militants and filmmakers. “Each spectator is a coward or a traitor”. This sentence by Frantz Fanon was fastened as a sign under the screen during the film, which had become a political act, as its directors had hoped every screening would become. And as they theorized shortly thereafter with the idea of a ‘militant cinema’ that, according to them, was the most advanced category of ‘Third Cinema’. “On my bony shoulders”, recalls Fernando Birri, “and on the shoulder of dozens, hundreds of spectators, we carried them down the main aisle of the cinema, in which not even a needle could fit. There was endless applause, enthusiastic hoorahs, revolutionary chants”. […] From the onset, various critics emphasized the way in which the film, particularly its first part, successfully articulated an original language with its revolutionary project. Actually, in the construction of that language, The Hour of the Furnaces works with a wide range of means and cinematic techniques (television news sequences, interviews and reportage, documentary material and reenactments, clips of other films, photographs, signs, graphic inserts, stop-images, commercials, editing effects, collage), as it simultaneously absorbs and re-elaborates diverse filmic influences along with Solanas’ previous experience in commercials. Going against cinematic spectacle, in particular its Hollywood version, the first part includes diverse attack strategies against viewers’ passivity, in which counter-information and agitprop blend without conflict.
Mariano Mestman, The Hour of the Furnaces, from Pesaro to the World, in Catalogo della 44a Mostra Internazionale del Nuovo Cinema, Fondazione Pesaro Nuovo Cinema Onlus, 2008
Restored in 2018 by INCAA (Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales), at Gotika laboratory in Buenos Aires and supervised by Fernando E. Solanas.