A Research Site Devoted to the Past and Future of Found Footage Film and Video


"The Literary and Artistic heritage of humanity should be used for partisan propaganda purposes." - Gil J. Wolman
“A lot of people who call themselves artists now are cultural critics who are using instruments other than just written language or spoken language to communicate their critical perspective.”
-Leslie Thornton

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Santiago Alvarez and the Latin American Found Footage Contingency

I recently came across one of the most original and politically provocative found-footage filmmakers of the 1960s, Santiago Alvarez. His films are available on DVD under the title "He Who Hits First, Hits Twice: The Urgent Cinema of Santiago Alvarez." These are some of the most refreshingly uncynical found-footage films I've seen from a man devoted to montage juxtapositions which have tremendous emotional impact on the viewer. If you like Jon Josts early work it is a must see. Below is one of his early films "Now!" I strongly urge everyone to see his films "LBJ" and "79 Springtimes" aka "79 Primaveras." Alvarez had no formal film training and worked for the Cuban Film Institutes newsreel division. A bio from Wikipedia is below. For anyone interested in newsreel found footage films, check out the book "Films Beget Films" by Jay Leyda.



Santiago Álvarez (born 1919–died 1998) was a Cuban filmmaker. He wrote and directed many documentaries about Cuban and American culture. Among his most famous works was the short Now (1964), about racial discrimination and featuring singer/actress Lena Horne. LBJ (1968) and 79 Primaveras (1969) examined figures of the Vietnam War. In 1968, he collaborated with Octavio Getino and Fernando E. Solanas (members of Grupo Cine Liberación) on the four-hour documentary Hora de los hornos, about foreign imperialism in South America. Among the other subjects he explored in his film were the musical and cultural scene in Latin America and the dictatorships which gripped the region. He died of Parkinson's disease in Havana on May 20, 1998 and was buried there in the Colon Cemetery.

1 comment:

Javier said...

this and the previous post are really interesting, im gonna dig a little more about this filmmaker

i think im gonna make a little ff video about fucking bush in a while (on vacation, college is making me go crazy right now)

i will let you know