Uruguay Cinematography

By | December 20, 2021

The invention of cinema arrived in the Uruguay on July 18, 1896, when the first paid public screening of some short films made with the Lumière brothers’ equipment took place in a ballroom in Montevideo. The first Uruguayan film, Carrera de bicicletas en el velódromo de Arroyo Seco (1898), was shot by Felix Oliver, a Spanish merchant living in the Uruguay who, having obtained a camera and virgin film in France, made some films. The creation of a film production company dates back to the early twentieth century: the brothers Lorenzo and Juan Adroher opened the Biógrafo Lumière, which functioned as a production and distribution house from 1910 to 1914, the year in which, due to the outbreak of the World War I, the supply of film from France was abruptly stopped. In the 1920s, while Argentine cinematography was establishing itself on a continental level, cinema in the United States was slow to develop, so much so that many technicians, photographers or aspiring filmmakers emigrated to nearby Buenos Aires. After some handcrafted medium-length films, the first feature film with a subject was Puños y nobleza (1919) by Edmundo Figari, never released in theaters; Almas de la costa by Juan Antonio Borges was released only in 1923, a highly successful melodrama in strong colors such as El pequeño héroe del Arroyo de Oro (1929) by Carlos Alonso, a film in which the contrast between native culture and that of European immigrants constitutes one of the most interesting elements. In fact, since the early years of the twentieth century, the difference between city and countryside had characterized the face of Uruguayan society:

The growing power of the Argentine film industry and the lack of a Uruguayan-based industry prevented the country from creating a film industry; the few realizations were limited to isolated episodes or short current affairs documentaries. In 1931 his first feature film was released, the documentary Cielo, agua y lobos by Justino Zavala Muniz, who became president and animator of the first film club in the country, the Cine-club del Uruguay. During the military dictatorship of Gabriel Terra (dictator since 1933), the first sound film, Dos destinos (1936) by Juan Etchebehere, was made, a work of government propaganda whose failure to succeed did not prevent the regime from giving impetus to film production: in 1938 came out ¿Vocación? by Juan Erecart, musical melodrama interpreted by opera singer Rina Massardi, presented at the 1939 Venice Film Festival. Two comedies were then released, Soltero soy feliz (1938) by Juan Carlos Patrón and Radio Candelario (1938) by Rafael Abella. However, competition from Argentine cinematography prevented the development of a true national industry and the realization of numerous co-productions. In fact, given the low cost of labor, many Argentine producers made films in the Uruguay Pirandello. However, competition from Argentine cinematography prevented the development of a true national industry and the realization of numerous co-productions. In fact, given the low cost of labor, many Argentine producers made films in the Uruguay Pirandello. However, competition from Argentine cinematography prevented the development of a true national industry and the realization of numerous co-productions. In fact, given the low cost of labor, many Argentine producers made films in the Uruguay Pirandello. For Uruguay 2007, please check extrareference.com.

Like other Latin American countries, the Uruguay experienced a period of development between the end of the Second World War and the 1950s: cinema became an element of the cultural formation of the new generations, as well as an instrument for the dissemination of social and political ideas, thanks also to the changed political climate that favored a greater pluralism. After the birth of the Archivio Nacional de la Imagen (1943), the Institute of Cinema of the University of the Republic (ICUR) was created in 1950 and the Cinemateca Uruguaya in 1952. In the documentary sector emerged Enrico Gras, director of Pupila al viento (1948) and Artigas, protector de los pueblos libres (1950), author of a cinema elaborated from the visual point of view and indebted to Soviet concepts on editing. In 1949, Adolfo Fabregat’s Detective a Contramano was released, a modern-style comedy, a parody of Hollywood noir cinema. However, the intellectual and creative ferment of the 1950s took a long time to materialize into real works: only in 1959 was Ugo Ulive’s Un vintén pa’l Judas released on the screens, a film born within the group of the Teatro del Galpón in Montevideo, inspired by the atmospheres and the Italian neorealist language (the use of the exteriors, the setting among the humblest social classes, the narration focused on the theft of a guitar are just some of the novelty elements destined to have repercussions in the following years). In 1960 Ulive directed Como el Uruguay no hay, a militant short film on the political situation of the country, which soon became the reference model of the new Uruguayan cinema. Following the example of Ulive, some young directors worked on the documentary short film as a form of denunciation: Mario Handler made Carlos, cineretrato de un caminante montevideano (1965) and, with Ulive, Elecciónes (1966). But it was above all with Handler’s Me gustan los estudiantes (1968), that Uruguayan militant cinema found a true manifesto, just when the repressive grip of the government was growing stronger and the left-wing opposition to conservative governments – represented above all by the fringe of socialist and communist inspiration of the Tupamaros – was acquiring an ever greater space in the country. Some short films were released in these years such as Liber Arce, liberarse (1969) by Handler, Mario Jacob and Marcos Banchero, Uruguay 69: Handler’s El Problem de la carne (1969), Alain Labrousse’s Miss Amnesia (1970), and the feature film Ay! Uruguay! (1971), a collective film directed by Ferruccio Musitelli, Manuel Castro, Juan Carlos Rodríguez and Juan Bouzas. Social tension resulted in 1973 in the establishment of a military dictatorship that imposed censorship and repression of the opposition forces in the United States: many of the protagonists of the film renewal of the previous decade were arrested or forced into exile (Ulive, Handler and Jorge Solé emigrated to Venezuela) and initially production was almost canceled, with the exception of Maribel y la extraña familia (1973) by Jorge Fornio and Raúl Quintín, first color film. In 1979 El lugar del humo was released, a melodrama directed by the Argentine director Eva Landeck, and in 1980 Gurí by Eduardo Darino, also appreciated animation director. In 1982 Juan Carlos Rodríguez Castro made Mataron a Venancio Flores, a historical drama about the murder of one of the presidents of the Uruguay the attempt to recover the socio-political memory of the country. Since 1984, the return of democracy to the Uruguay, a new generational and aesthetic change has taken place. Given the lack of a real film industry, new filmmakers have begun to develop a poetics of video, a manageable and economical support that has allowed them to experiment with forms and languages ​​in the short film as well as in the feature film. In the 1990s, fictional video feature films were released such as Vida rápida (1992) by Grupo Hacedor, Martin Aquino (1996) by Ricardo Romero Curbelo, El hombre pálido (1998) by Duilio Borch, in which the lack of professionalism from a technical point of view is compensated by the desire to experiment and search for a new way of understanding cinema. The documentary has recovered the experience of the directors of the Sixties, such as for example. in Elecciónes Generale (1985) by César de Ferrari, in which fragments of Me gustan los estudiantes are inserted. In order to develop a new national cinematography, the policy of co-productions was launched in the country, as in the case of El dirigible (1994) by Pablo Dotta, in collaboration with Cuba, Switzerland, Great Britain, Mexico, a film presented at the Cannes Film Festival and, in the his intention to tell the story of the Uruguay in a metaphorical key, inspired by a magical-realist language, linked to the surreal forms of South American literature. The Uruguayan Beatriz Flores Silva, trained in Belgium, made La historia avvenire de Pepita la Pistolera in 1993 and the Argentine Jorge Rocca directed Patrón in 1994. In 1997, two bodies aimed at safeguarding and promoting cinema were established: the Fondo Nacional del Audiovisual (FONA), a private consortium of production companies, and the Istituto Nacional de Audiovisuales (INA), a state body dependent on the Ministry of Education. and culture. At the same time, the Cinemateca Uruguaya (which has also become a film school as well as traditionally distributing films excluded from the commercial market) has continued its work of disseminating the country’s film culture. L’ an increase in production has also made it possible to try different paths with works such as El Chevrolé (1998) by Leonardo Ricagni, linked to the new advertising and video clip aesthetics; Otario (1997) by Diego Arsuaga, noir set in Montevideo in the 1940s; up to the narrative minimalism of Una forma de bailar (1997) by Álvaro Buela. Since 2000, a new trend has begun to make its way: films such as Los días con Ana (2000) by Marcelo Bertalmío, 25 watts (2001) by Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll, and La espera (2002) by Aldo Garay appear signs of a new cinema free from pre-established schemes and models to imitate, but capable of reinventing itself, a further symptom of the reborn vivacity of the continent’s production.

Uruguay Cinematography