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  • Resolutions of the Third World Filmmakers Meeting, Algiers, December 5–14, 1973

Cineaste (Pamphlet No. 1)1

The Third World Filmmakers Meeting, sponsored by the National Office for Cinematographic Commerce and Industry (ONCIC) and the cultural information center, was held in Algiers from December 5 to 14, 1973. The meeting brought together filmmakers from all areas of the third world for the purpose of discussing common problems and goals to lay the groundwork for an organization of third world filmmakers.

The filmmakers attending the conference organized themselves into separate committees to discuss the specific areas of production and distribution as well as how the filmmaker fits into the political struggle of the third world.

The resolutions of the various committees are published here as they were released in Algiers, with only slight modifications in grammar and spelling.

Committee 1: People’s Cinema

The Committee on People’s Cinema—the role of cinema and filmmakers in the third world against imperialism and neocolonialism—consisted of the following filmmakers and observers: Fernando Birri (Argentina); Humberto Rios (Bolivia); Manuel Perez (Cuba); Jorge Silva (Columbia); [End Page 155] Jorge Cedron (Argentina); Moussa Diakite (Republic of Guinea); Flora Gomez (Guinea-Bissou); Mohamed Abdelwahad (Morocco); El Hachmi Cherif (Algeria); Lamine Merbah (Algeria); Mache Khaled (Algeria); Fettar Sid Ali (Algeria); Bensalah Mohamed (Algeria); Meziani Abdelhakim (Algeria). Observers: Jan Lindquist (Sweden); Josephine (Guinea-Bissau); and Salvatore Piscicelli (Italy).

The committee met on December 11, 12, and 13, 1973, in Algiers, under the chairmanship of Lamine Merbah. At the close of its deliberations, the committee adopted the following analysis.

So-called underdevelopment is first of all an economic phenomenon which has direct repercussions on the social and cultural sectors. To analyze such a phenomenon we must refer to the dialectics of the development of capitalism on a world scale.

At a historically determined moment in its development, capitalism extended itself beyond the framework of the national European boundaries and spread—a necessary condition for its growth—to other regions of the world in which the forces of production, being only slightly developed, provided favorable ground for the expansion of capitalism through the existence of immense, virgin material resources and available, cheap manpower reserves which constituted a new, potential market for the products of capitalist industry.

This expansion manifested itself in different regions, given the power relationships, and in different ways:

  • ▸. Through direct and total colonization implying violent invasion and the setting up of an economic and social infrastructure which does not correspond to the real needs of the people but serves more, or exclusively, the interests of the metropolitan countries;

  • ▸. In a more or less disguised manner leaving to the countries in question a pretense of autonomy;

  • ▸. Finally, through a system of domination of a new type—neocolonialism.

The result has been that these countries have undergone, on the one hand, varying degrees of development and, on the other hand, extremely varied levels of dependency with respect to imperialism: domination, influence, and pressures.

The different forms of exploitation and systematic plundering of the natural resources have had grave consequences on the economic, social, and cultural levels for the so-called underdeveloped countries, so that even though these countries are undergoing extremely diversified degrees of development, they face in their struggle for independence and social progress [End Page 156] a common enemy—imperialism—which forms the principal obstacle to their development.

Its consequences can be seen in:

  • ▸. The articulation of the economic sectors: imbalance of development on the national level with the creation of poles of economic attraction incompatible with the development of a proportionally planned national economy and with the interests of the popular masses, thereby giving rise to zones of artificial prosperity.

  • ▸. Imbalance on the regional and continental levels, thereby revealing the determination of imperialism to create zones of attraction favorable for its own expansion and which are presented as models of development in order to retard the people’s struggle for real political and economic independence.

The repercussions on the social plane are as serious as they are numerous: they lead to characteristic impoverishment of the majority for the benefit in the first instance of the dominating forces and the national bourgeoisie of which one sector is...


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