CHE, MUERTE DE LA UTOPIA? (CHE, DEATH OF A UTOPIA?)
Argentina, 1997, Documentary, Color/B&W, 90 minutes.
On the 30th Anniversary of the death of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, one of Argentina's major filmmakers, Fernand...展开o Birri, traveled camera in hand to follow the footprints of this legendary figure. In Birri's view it is appropriate to reflect on the significance of Che as a myth and as a person. Above all, it's a pretext for him to question the validity and the significance of utopia. This is the central theme of this film collage, his polemic essay: "...without utopia there is no history, otherwise it would mean that we accept an alienated, suicidal world."
Birri is known as the "Father of the New Latin American Cinema". He studied film at the Centro
Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome, and after graduating returned to Argentina where he founded in the province of Santa Fe, the first film school specialized in documentalism in Latin America. He was forced to exile due to the Argentinian military coup de etat, and lived in Italy where he shot his three-hour experimental film "Org". In 1986 he helped to found the International School of Film and Television in Cuba, and was chosen as first principal. He lives in Europe, and has taught in Mexico and Venezuela.
Fernando Birri (Santa Fe, Argentina, March 13, 1925) is an Argentinian film maker and theorist. He is considered by many to be the father of the new Latin American cinema.
Birri was born in Santa Fe, Argentina. After being involved in theater and poetry, he went to Rome to study film-making at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, from 1950 to 1953, and appeared in the 1955 Italian film Gli Sbandati. In 1956 he returned to Santa Fe, to form the Film Institute at the Universidad Nacional del Litoral university. A year later he started filming scenes of poverty and human misery in lower-class Santa Fe. The project, billed as a "survey film", spanned three years, and filming wrapped up in 1958. Before screening the resulting 33-minute documentary, Tire dié, Birri first debuted with a short film in 1959, called La primera fundación de Buenos Aires. The documentary itself premiered in 1960, earning Birri critical acclaim and paving his way for further projects of similar nature, like Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires (1960) and more famously Los inundados (1961), which won the Venice Film Festival award for Best First Film.
After directing a short film about La Pampa (La pampa gringa) in 1963, Birri retired from directing and only returned 12 years later to make a movie about Ernesto "Che" Guevara (Mi hijo el Che) in 1985. His next film, also about El Che, was filmed in 1997 (Che, muerte de una utopía?), but remained commercially unreleased. Birri has since done two more movies - El siglo del viento (1999) and ZA 05. Lo viejo y lo nuevo (2006).