Above: the “Ideological Warfare” segment of Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino’s Hour of the Furnaces (1968)
In this revolutionary Argentinean documentary, filmmakers Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino demonstrate the indoctrinating functions of imported American and European mass culture. Below is an excerpt of an essay on revolutionary cinema, which outlines how this sequence works to break down the indoctrination of its audience.
Excerpt of “The Dialectic Cannot Break Bricks”:
by Michael Toledano
. . . The film’s first section serves the function of teaching critical media reception—it adopts the strategy of détournement as developed by the French revolutionary collective, The Situationist International. The strategy entails transforming or displacing cultural artifacts to denounce and attack the capitalist culture from which they emerged. As Guy Debord and Gil Wolman wrote, in A User’s Guide to Détournement, “clashing head-on with all social and legal conventions, it cannot fail to be a powerful cultural weapon in the service of a real class struggle.” The recognizability of the distorted materials is crucial to the success of a détournement—the theorists maintain that “the main impact of a détournement is directly related to the conscious or semiconscious recollection of the original contexts of the elements.”
The film’s note on “ideological warfare” marks a particularly successful détournement of mainstream (and colonized) Argentinean culture—images and sounds from popular and “high” culture are appropriated and arranged to deliver their own condemnation.Click to Keep Reading . . .