The Dignity of the Nobodies

This second chapter in a series of four documentaries exposing the condition of Argentina today follows last year's forceful opener, A Social Genocide (SFIFF 2005). This is activist cinema at its best: passionate, informative, and uncompromising. Director Fernando Solanas focuses on those who have suffered the most from the corporate sacking of his country and their struggle to fight back. As he writes in the opening notes, “What I'm going to tell you are the stories of the ‘nobodies,' of men and women, like so many Argentineans, with no resources and with no name, those who have always suffered deprivation and adversity. They are the people who ‘grin and bear it,' who carry their courage and dignity like a flag.” The stories and testimonials in The Dignity of the Nobodies expose that orgy of exploitation by multinational corporations and lending institutions called globalization. A country of thirty-eight million that once had the agricultural capacity to feed hundreds of millions, twenty-first-century Argentina has been devastated by staggering rates of unemployment and poverty. Interviewing workers, small farmers, and indigenous people with his handheld DV minicam, Solanas shows how they are resisting. Displaced women farmers organize to confront banks and disrupt auctions. Organizers of communal soup kitchens, clinics, and bakeries team up to help each other deal with poverty and hunger. Workers who have taken over unprofitable factories abandoned by their owners begin running them for themselves. Thousands march against police murderers and send them to jail. The film's power and immediacy make it feel like a vibrant forecast of things to come.

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