South

  • 1988
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Fantasy, Political

Set in 1983 after the fall of the military dictatorship, Fernando Solanas' visually arresting SOUTH portrays the troubled political climate of contemporary Argentina. Following a line of dream logic, the film takes place over one evening as Sola, a young political prisoner who has spent the last five years behind bars, is set free and allowed to return...read more

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Set in 1983 after the fall of the military dictatorship, Fernando Solanas' visually arresting SOUTH portrays the troubled political climate of contemporary Argentina. Following a line of dream logic, the film takes place over one evening as Sola, a young political prisoner who has spent

the last five years behind bars, is set free and allowed to return to his barrio. He faces his return with trepidation: he has been away too long; too many of his friends have died; his wife (Pecoraro) has had an affair with his French friend and coworker, Leotard. Sola wanders around his

neighborhood, but it is not the same place he left five years ago; even the bar he and his friends used to frequent has changed proprietors. A heavy fog rolls across the glistening streets, and political pamphlets are scattered everywhere. Then Sola meets a ghost from his past, Cruz, an old friend

gunned down years ago by the military. Cruz reminds him of old times and the efforts of their fellow workers, and the two walk the streets, viewing mock executions that appear out of thin air and just as magically disappear again--Sola's ebbing and flowing memories. Waiting in her bedroom is the

beautiful Pecoraro, who eagerly awaits Sola's return. After many hours, she begins to fear that he won't show because of his bitterness over her affair with Leotard (who has left the country). Finally, however, Sola accepts the changes that have taken place and the time he has lost, and he heads

for Pecoraro's bedroom.

SOUTH is undeniably one of the most important features to come out of Argentina in some time. It is a poetic epic that takes place in only a few hours of one evening but spans seven years of military rule. It is set on a few streets snaking through Buenos Aires, yet it stretches over all of South

America. Director-screenwriter Solanas, who earned a Best Director award at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, previously made his mark on Latin American cinema with LA HORA DE LOS HORNOS (1968; codirected with Octavio Getino), and most recently found critical success with TANGOS: THE EXILE OF GARDEL

(1985). With SOUTH, however, Solanas has made what some are already calling his masterpiece--a film that synthesizes his past styles and accomplishments into one brilliant whole. Like Latin American literature, SOUTH is steeped in fantasy: the dead come back to life and converse with the living,

then vanish into air, as literally haunting images of the past. More than just a study of political oppression, Solanas' film celebrates all that is of the South. It exists in defiance of its powerful northern neighbor as the director fights US influence in both his film's theme and style.

Although technically awe-inspiring, the commercially successful SOUTH does not succumb to the influence of Hollywood. Even in its music, the film celebrates its autonomy, including not only the traditional tangos but rock argentino in the form of a hard-driving rock 'n' roll band. Despite its

French coproduction, SOUTH's greatest importance is as a piece of national cinema rather than as international cinema. Its references are wholly related to the South, its ultimate power reserved for those who have been affected by the region at first hand. The rest of us can only admire and

appreciate Solanas' poetry and skill. (In Spanish; English subtitles.) (Violence, nudity.)

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  • Released: 1988
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Set in 1983 after the fall of the military dictatorship, Fernando Solanas' visually arresting SOUTH portrays the troubled political climate of contemporary Argentina. Following a line of dream logic, the film takes place over one evening as Sola, a young p… (more)

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