Directed by Fernando Solanas
I had feared, after reports of this film’s flirtation with political defeat, that the great Fernando Solanas had finally gone soft. Fat chance. Social Genocide proves to be every bit the agit-prop fire-breather as his seminal The Hour of the Furnaces and couldn’t have come a moment sooner in breaking the story of Argentina’s gutting at the hands of foreign capital and the IMF. Those of us who suffer the minor scandals of Paul Martin’s Liberals will thank their lucky stars that they never had to deal with Carlos Menem, whose neo-liberal "mafiocracy” privatised Argentina’s national industries and gave outrageous concessions to U.S. and European corporations. The ostensible reason was to bolster the economy, but the only people who seemed to profit were the banks, who could charge 50-percent interest, the multinationals that dismantled the social safety net and the politicians who pocketed the difference. Solanas brings all the sound and fury he can in order to drive home the horror of fleeing capital and the lost and abandoned who have to pick up the check. The mélange of facts, figures, found footage and swirling imagery gets to be a bit much sometimes, and fails to provide precious context that a non-Argentinean desperately needs, but in the end we know who’s to blame and we know the devastating consequences of a middleclass completely wiped out and generations of undernourished dropping (and being treated) like flies. After four decades of activism leading only to this, Solanas is entitled to a wail of pain, and if his final note of hope seems swamped by the appalling greed that precedes it, the whole thing is still guaranteed to light a fire under us first-world complacents.
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