The Art of Hunger: Re-Defining Third Cinema
by NICOLA MARZANO
This article tries to address established notions of Third Cinema theory and its filmmakers from developing and post-colonial nations. The Third Cinema movement called for a politicized
film-making practice in Africa, Asia and Latin America, since its first appearance during the 60’s and 70’s, taking on board issues of race, class, religion, and national integrity.
The films investigated in this paper, from directors like Sembène, Getino, Solanas and Guzman, are amongst the most culturally significant and politically sophisticated from this movement and denote the adoption of an independent, often oppositional, stance towards
commercial genres and mainstream cinema.
Third Cinema has posed – and continues to pose – difficult and challenging questions. These questions, then, are crucial to this article, an article that focuses on Third Cinema in an inclusive fashion, studying films from Argentina, Chile, Senegal, and even England. Suggesting new methodologies and subtle refinements of existing ones, this article aims at rereading the entire phenomenon of film-making in a fast-vanishing 'Third World'.
Coming to terms with Third Cinema
There is an endless debate about Third Cinema and its strategies in offering valuable tools for documenting social reality. From the 70’s onwards, appreciation of its value and aesthetics has been unfolded through controversial approaches and different views on this radical form of cinema.
The idea of Third Cinema was conceived in the 1960s as a set of radical manifestos and low-budget experimental movies by a group of Latin American filmmakers, who defined a ’cinema of opposition’ to Hollywood and European models. Possibly, this new form of expression came from three different areas of the world: Asia, Africa, and Latin America. At the time these three zones were labelled ‘Third World’ (sometimes they, or at least some of them, still are).
Even though scholars like Willemen explained how the notion of Third Cinema was most emphatically not Third World Cinema, these two concepts have often been confused either intentionally or accidentally (Willemen 1991: 3).
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