Marxism and the Third Cinema

“The battle begins without, against the enemy (i.e. bourgeoisie) who attacks us, but also within, against the ideas and models of the enemy to be found inside each one of us” (CV 938).

This quote from Solanos and Getino reminded me of the theoretical writings of Antonio Gramsci, who I posted about earlier in the semester- he was briefly mentioned on page 91 in UFT. In the context of Gramsci, who borrowed from Marxist ideology, filmmakers are to be what Grasmci deems “organic intellectuals”. Similar to the Marxist notion of the proletariat overthrowing the bourgeois, the organic intellectuals of a society are supposed to be the first to understand their subordinate position and motivate others to rally against it, overthrowing their oppressors. In this view, filmmakers are tasked with using Third Cinema as a tool to overthrow ideological oppression that has been historically rooted in Hollywood cinema.

Although Solanas and Getino wrote about Third Cinema in the 60s, they were preceded by the Soviet Montage movement. Corrigan et al. briefly dwell on this in their last sentence of their introduction to “Towards a Third Cinema,” saying, “Like the Soviets in an earlier revolutionary moment, Solanas and Gestino see the cinema as a populist and mass medium that transcends barriers of language and literacy” (CV 925). Dziga Vertov and his Soviet contemporaries, “aimed ‘to place at the centre of attention the economic structure of society,’ ‘to open the working masses’ eyes the links uniting visual phenomena,’ and ‘to expose to workers the bourgeois structure of the world’” (Crofts & Rose, “An Essay Towards Man with a Movie Camera, 1977).

It seems that Solanos and Getino’s idea of a Third Cinema has existed since the early days of the medium, and still continues in the present with documentary films like Roger Ross William’s God Loves Uganda (2013), which provides viewers with an awareness of the ideological oppression still enforced by the bourgeoisie today.



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