Third Cinema is an alternative to both First World Hollywood cinema and European “author” cinema (second cinema). It adopts the Second Cinema’s aesthetic opposition to Hollywood, but, according to Stephen Crofts, takes it one step further by incorporating a political opposition as well. The goal is to fight against neocolonialism and reclaim a national identity for themselves via an attempt at decolonization. It is a revolutionary cinema. Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino describe it as akin to guerrilla warfare. It must function completely outside of the System, completely underground. It is the most important tool available for revolutionaries to communicate with each other, to gain an audience, to transform the audience from mere spectators to active members of the cause in order to incite a real revolution.

Glauber Rocha discusses the hunger that is felt by colonized countries, which can have no manifestation other than violence in order to be truly communicated to the colonial powers. Julio Garcia Espinosa shares similar sentiments, emphasizing the importance of reclaiming the arts and sciences as a tool of the revolution. But this new art must go beyond the “counter-cinema” of the European directors (as described by Peter Wollen in his piece on Godard and his Vent d’Est) because this cinema still works within the confines of the System. It is important for Third Cinema directors to reclaim their own identity by deconstructing the false identity imposed on them by the colonizing powers. Robert Stam and Louise Spence discuss at length the many ways in which Western cinema imposes its own ideas of race (cannibalism, barbarism) and colonialism (bringing civilization and religion to those who lack it) onto its representation of colonized people.

I couldn’t help but think of Dziga Vertov’s Kino Eye manifesto while doing the readings for this week, particularly the ideas of opening up the field of film-making to the masses and focusing on the depiction of reality in order to wake people up from the fantasy world they have been programmed to accept. The only difference is that the Third Cinema directors embrace art in terms of storytelling and all of the artifice it entails while Vertov was adamant about using only documentary footage. It seems to me that Third Cinema would be a much more effective method of mobilizing the masses, not only by employing them as filmmakers but by incorporating them into the conversation by trusting them to parse through the artifice in order to identify the realities depicted in the film. This way, they are able to reclaim their own identity in the process.

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