3. Third Cinemas, Colonialism, Decolonization, and Postcolonialsim
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3 THIRD CINEMAS, COLONIZATION, DECOLONIZATION, AND POSTCOLONIALISM T H I R D C I N E M A S , C O L O N I A L I S M • 207 . . . Next to the avant-garde, the debates surrounding Third Cinema have produced more manifestos than any other area of the cinema. This chapter begins with a collection of the major Third Cinema manifestos and their precursors in Latin America, which trace the developing sense of urgency in Latin America to produce a local cinema that addresses the needs and aspirations of both Latin American filmmakers and audiences. Mexico, often left out of the debates about the need for a Third Cinema—a key term coined in one of the manifestos contained herein—was particularly fertile ground for the development of an indigenous cinema, as Mexican films often lived in the shadow of Luis Buñuel. This chapter also includes the key manifestos of the Third Cinema movement, including texts by Fernando Birri, Julio García Espinosa, Fernando Solanas, Octavio Getino, and Jorge Sanjinés. All these filmmakers call for a new kind of cinema, one that disavows the escapism and ideology of Hollywood and forgoes the celebration of the director as auteur. These manifestos argue, instead, for a collective, politically engaged cinema. The goal of decolonization also inspired groups outside of Latin America. The manifesto of the Palestinian Cinema Group, for instance, addresses the dire need for an independent and revolutionary form of cinema practice to work hand in hand with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation in the creation of an independent Palestine. The influence of Third Cinema and the discourses of decolonization are also taken up in the first world. For instance, the independence movement in Québec was greatly influenced by writers such as Frantz Fanon and Albert Memmi. In “The Cinema: Another Face of Colonised Québec,” the Association professionnelle des cinéastes du Québec argues that the dominance of American cinema and international capitalism marginalized the possibility of Québec’s producing films that reflect the lives of Québécois filmmakers and audiences, where a great deal of local production simply amounted to soft-core pornography (and part of a larger subset of 1970s Canadian production that has retrospectively been dubbed Maple Syrup Porn). African-born French filmmaker Med Hondo argues for a new form of cinema that reflects the lived experiences of Africans and the African diaspora. The “Niamey Manifesto of African Filmmakers” codifies many of these problems and outlines the goals and need for a pan-African cinema. In a similar vein John Akomfrah’s “Black Independent Filmmaking: A Statement by the Black Audio Film Collective” addresses the need for a black-British filmmaking practice and outlines the ways in which the Black Audio Film Collective will undertake such a program. The “FeCAViP Manifesto” outlines similar goals for pan-Caribbean filmmakers. The chapter ends with a manifesto of protest from the first world, released by writers and filmmakers protesting TIFF’s (Toronto International Film Festival) programming of a series of films celebrating Tel Aviv at a time when 208 • T H I R D C I N E M A S , C O L O N I A L I S M Israel was taking aggressive actions against Palestine. All these manifestos point to the global nature of the cinema. While these global tendencies are often celebrated, most notably just before the emergence of sound, they nevertheless work in an ideological fashion, to marginalize and disavow voices from developing countries, especially when these voices are engaged in radical dissent. ...


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