Latin American film industry aiming higher

The main challenge Latin American cinema faces today is the awareness to exist and resume its commitment to collective destiny and history.

The need to confront the penetration of American culture in the Latin American region and the urgency to reconquer the halls and the interest of youth, influenced by an individualistic, commercial audiovisual that tries to domesticate, alienate and provoke the rejection of the identity of each nation is the Latin American challenge nowadays.

We have to find a solution. Festivals from time to time do not solve the problem. What must be done by representatives of Latin American cinema - which was proposed many years ago and was never achieved - is to create a large distributor that competes with the North American monopoly, he said.

The mechanisms of imperial enslavement are very strong and economically very powerful, he warned.

Considered one of the greatest exponents of the seventh art in this Andean country and the continent, Sanjinés was one of the founders of New Latin American Cinema, a movement born in the decade of the sixties that moved away from the commercial mechanisms and it was proposed to rescue the customs Of peoples.

During a conversation in the House of Culture Simón Rodríguez, of the Venezuelan Embassy in La Paz, Sanjinés referred to the beginnings of that current.

In 1968, we participated in the First Encounter of Documentalists of the region in the University of Merida, Venezuela. We lived a special moment, of political effervescence. Ernesto Che Guevara had recently died, who gave his life for the liberation of the Bolivian people and deeply moved the young intelligentsia, he said.

We felt called upon to respond to that terrible aggression of the American empire against our country. We went to Merida and it was an extraordinary surprise to find great creators and revolutionaries, who used the cinema in the same way that we thought should be used, he said.

According to Sanjinés, most of those present wanted to make a different art, ideological, to contrast it with the commercial that at that time ruled the world.

We had to enter another stage and direct our films to the majorities, not to a satisfied minority who were not interested in social problems. It was necessary to investigate the mentality and the culture of the town, to make another type of cinema, that touched the hot matters of the daily reality, political and social, explained.

According to the author of Yawar Mallku or Blood of Condor and The Clandestine Nation, it was necessary to create a new Bolivian film narrative that could fight for the country's culture, its liberation and identity.

We believed that the revolution was within reach. Cuba had recently been liberated and showed us that it was possible to do the same in all Latin America. We had to fight, organize and contribute to that process with the means within our reach, he said.

The Bolivian cinema of commitment contained an ideology and a political purpose. It was very hard to do and we live in highly dangerous circumstances. Some comrades were arrested and we lived seven years in exile. Our art had a very high price, he recalled.

She also recalled the premiere of Yawar Mallku in 1969, in which she denounced the sterilization of young peasant women without her consent by the US Peace Corps agency in this nation.

In the International Festival of Venice, the film won the Gold Timon award and we were able to denounce to the world that crime. There was tremendous controversy, investigations were carried out and the Bolivian government expelled the Peace Corps from our territory. Not even the greatest recognition filled us with such satisfaction as this political measure, he said.

On his current projects, Sanjinés indicated that, together with his Ukamau group, he now realizes "a cinema of recovery of the historical memory that was also denied, deformed and premeditated ill-told."

Her most recent production, Juana Azurduy Guerrillera de la Patria Grande, recalls the particularities and life experiences of the heroine, as well as her role in defending indigenous interests.

Art reaches where science and reason do not. Through it you can learn more about a society. We bring our grain of sand to the process of change, not only making that cinema but taking it to the population, he said.

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