Argentine Cinema


177 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88971-106-2





Edited by Tim Barnard
Reviewed by Susan Patrick

Susan Patrick is a librarian at Ryerson Polytechnical University.


Prepared to accompany a retrospective of Argentine cinema at the Ontario Film Institute in Toronto and at other film institutes throughout Canada in 1987, this volume is intended to provide a general introduction to Argentine cinema in light of the renewed interest in that country’s films since the end of military rule in 1983. This is the first book published in English on the subject, and the sponsorship of the Ontario Film Institute speaks for its authority.

The book consists of essays, beginning with one by the editor which gives the history of the Argentine film industry (including a discussion of the political events of this century, with which the film industry has been inextricably bound), and is supplemented and summarized by a useful chronology. Other contributions, many translated from Spanish, expound on various topics introduced in the first essay from different critical perspectives. The authors include such highly regarded Argentine filmmakers as Fernando Birri and Octavio Gentino. Birri, founder of the first Latin American Documentary school at the University of Listoral in Argentina, writes of his attempts to find a national identity in film by documenting national reality, informed by social awareness and concern, and also about the New Latin American Cinema of the early 1960s. Gentino discusses the concept of the “Third Cinema,” as opposed to the two established cinemas — the U.S. / European classical, and the auteurist.

Also included in this volume are a history of film censorship in Argentina, a report on the current state of the Argentine film industry, discussions about the noted Argentine thinker and writer Jorge Luis Borges, and some of his contemporary reviews of Argentine productions. Although the essays are not thematically linked, there is an undercurrent throughout of the struggle to establish and maintain a strong independent and truly national cinema — a concept to which Canadians should be able to relate. There is a good bibliography (mainly Spanish references) and index.

This volume is an important one for film collections, particularly as it fills a gap caused by the scarcity of English translations of critical material about the Argentine cinema. Although primarily of interest to film students and enthusiasts (especially those who attended the Argentine film festival), the writing is straightforward and full of factual details that could be appreciated by a general audience.



“Argentine Cinema,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024,