Movies about the Native Peoples of

Veronico Cruz Zafra La ultima siembra
La nacion oculta

La deuda interna (Veronico Cruz); Zafra; La última siembra; La nación oculta; Mi hijo Ceferino Namuncurá; Gerónima

= Lame, Crummy.     = OK, Watchable.     = Good.     = Very Good.     = Great, Classic.

Director:Leónidas Barletta
Writer:Enzo Aloisi, Bernardo González Arrili, Leónidas Barletta
Cinematography:Mario Pagés
Music:Jacobo Ficher
Year / length:1941. 83 minutes.
Setting:northern Argentina
Native Content:medium
Released on:none
Rating: lousy ok

Two brothers in a remote Indian town are in love with the same girl, a new teacher who has been assigned to the town. The older brother is a brute and attempts to rape the girl, causing enmity with the younger brother. This was the only film made by the famous Teatro del Pueblo. The acting is stagy and the cinematography often crude, but the story is compelling. Based on the 1940 play Los afincaos: drama barbaro by Enzo Aloisi (an Italian immigrant) and Bernardo González Arrilli.

Sinopsis en español:
Los Afincaos fue la primera y única película producida por la memorable compañía Teatro del Pueblo. Filmada íntegramente en el Norte, la historia es la de dos hermanos indígenas, que desean a la misma mujer, una joven maestra de escuela. El mayor de los hermanos se enamora pero al ser rechazado, rapta y viola a la infortunada muchacha. Cuando el hermano menor se entera de lo hecho por su hermano, tomará la más terrible de las decisiones. Esta película nos da una idea muy aproximada de la situación del Teatro de contenido social en la Argentina de aquellos tiempos. Si bien la puesta es sumamente teatral, lo que la hace lenta en su desarrollo, la caracterización y composición de los personajes es única. Todos sus intérpretes son los participantes originales del Teatro del Pueblo. La crítica favorable no impidió que la censura obligara a anteponer placas que aclaraban que la acción no transcurría en su país. "Avanzar sin prisa y sin pausa, como la estrella" fue el lema del Teatro del Pueblo, había sido tomado del gran poeta alemán Goethe, fue este grupo el que dió inició al teatro independiente.

(The Road)
Director:Javier Olivera
Writers:Constanza Novik, Javier Olivera
Cinematography:Cristian Cottet
Music:Axel Krygier
Year / Length:2000. 107 minutes.
Setting:Buenos Aires; Neuquen; and towns in between
Native Content:low
Released on:DVD
Rating: lousy ok

Manuel, a sheltered young man from Buenos Aires, treks across Patagonia on his motorcycle in search of the father he never met. On the way, a barroom brawl lands him in jail, where he witnesses a cop beating another prisoner. He escapes and continues his journey to Neuquen, while the corrupt cop chases him. Arriving in Neuquen, Manuel finds that his father is an anthropologist helping the Mapuche Indians to preserve their culture. His father's friend Casimino (Rubén Patagonia) helps Manuel to foil the corrupt cop and persuades him to stop running and report the crime to the police. The plot is similar to another Argentine film, the wonderful Fuga de cerebros, but unfortunately El Camino is improbable, unfocused, and mediocre.

Sinopsis en español:
Manuel es un joven solitario de clase media alta que vive en Buenos Aires con su madre. Por una circunstancia fortuita, un día descubre que su padre, al que no conoce y a quien supone viviendo en el exterior, está en el país. Decide ir a buscarlo y en su moto inicia un largo camino hacia el sur por la Patagonia. En el viaje conoce a una joven de la cual se enamora y juntos enfrentan una peligrosa situación.

Veronico Cruz
(The Inner Debt)
[a.k.a. Veronico Cruz]
Director:Miguel Pereira
Writers:Eduardo Leiva Muller, Miguel Pereira, Fortunato Ramos
Cinematography:Gerry Feeny
Music:Jaime Torres, Takuta Gordillo
Year / length:1988. 95 minutes.
Setting:Chorcan, Jujuy, 1964-1982
Language:Spanish; some Qolla
Native Content:medium-high
Released on:DVD
Rating: lousy ok good very good excellent

A teacher (Juan José Camero) is assigned to Chorcán, a poor mountain village in Jujuy, in northwestern Argentina, inhabited by Qollas. There he befriends Veronico Cruz (Gonzalo Morales), a boy who has lost his parents. When the grandmother dies, the boy moves in with the teacher, who inspires him with knowledge of the world outside the village, particularly the sea. Stark images and sparse dialogue convey the bleak poverty of life in the village and the growing hints, alternately alluring and frightening, of a bigger world outside, including the military coup of 1976. Indigenous music with flutes and charangos greatly enhances this subtle, restrained, poetic and haunting film, the first from director Miguel Pereira. Based on true stories told by the musician, poet, and teacher Fortunato Ramos (who plays a small part in the film as Veronico's father). La deuda interna won awards in Argentina, Colombia, and Germany.
A note on the title:
The film is also known by the title La dueda interna, which may be an allusion to an Argentine movie released a year before this one, El hombre de la deuda externa, about a man who wins a fortune and uses it to pay Argentina's foreign debt. So La deuda interna may refer to the cost of human lives that Argentina owes to its people for the war of the Islas Malvinas.

Sinopsis en español:
Veronico Cruz narra la vida y crecimiento de un joven indio en Jujuy, una de las regiones más inhóspitas del territorio Argentino. Al nacer Veronico, muere su madre, su padre lo deja al cuidado de su abuela, ya vieja y enferma, y parte en busca de trabajo en las cosechas de los Valles subtropicales. La muerte de la abuela lo deja en una total orfandad y el maestro decide llevarlo a vivir con él. El cariño entre ambos se profundiza y también el cariño entre Veronico y Juanita, su amiga pastora de llamas. Se produce el Golpe de Estado de 1976 y algunos militares no tardan en llegar a este olvidado rincón. Tiempo después Veronico participa en la guerra de Las Malvinas.

(The Man Who Came to a Village)
Director/writer:Miguel Pereira
Cinematography:Daniel Ortega
Music:Takuta Gordillo, Jaume Sole, Ricardo Vilca
Year / length:2006. 90 minutes.
Setting:small town in Jujuy
Native Content:medium
Released on:DVD (in Latin America)
Rating: lousy ok good very good

Inspired by the novel El hombre que llegó a un pueblo [The Man Who Came to a Village] by Héctor Tizón. A drug dealer from Spain goes to a small town in Jujuy disguised as a priest. When the deal goes wrong he is injured and left for dead. The townspeople find him and restore him to health, thinking he really is a priest. Continuing the deceit, he guides the town in deciding whether to continue their tradition as potters and craftsmen or work for a development company building a road through town. He decides in favor of the road, but then changes his mind when he discovers that the road will cut through and destroy the cemetery, where he has heard there is a buried treasure he was planning to steal. As in his earlier film La ultima siembra, master filmmaker Miguel Pereira weaves a complex tale that explores the threat of modernity and development to traditional ways, using his usual techniques of beautiful cinematography, subtle symbolism, and a compelling story of conflicting motivations.

Sinopsis en español:
Un traficante de drogas español tiene que cerrar una transacción en la remota región de Jujuy, Argentina. Casi pierde la vida en ello. El azar hará que se tenga que esconder en una remota aldea disfrazado de sacerdote, donde los habitantes le tomarán por tal. Allí tendrá que tomar partido ante los inminentes cambios que acechan al pueblo, y decidir si aprovecha esa segunda oportunidad que le ha dado la vida.

Fuga de la Patagonia

(Escape from Patagonia)

Directors:Francisco D'Eufemia
Javier Zevallos
Writer:Javier Zevallos
Cinematography:Lucio Bonelli
Music:Ariel Polenta
Year / Length:2016. 95 minutes.
Setting:Patagonia, 1880s.
Language:Spanish; some Mapudungun
Culture or Ethnicity:Tehuelche
Native Content:medium
Released on:none
Rating: lousy ok good

Based on an episode in the life of the Buenos Aires naturalist and explorer Francisco "Perito" Moreno (May 31, 1852 - November 22, 1919). During his second exploration of Patagonia, Moreno and his Mapudungun translator Gavino were captured by the Tehuelche. At the time, Argentina was carrying out its notorious Campaña del Desierto or Conquest of the Desert, setting up military bases throughout Patagonia. The Tehuelches captured Moreno and condemned him to death. This film dramatizes his escape. During an earlier expedition Moreno had befriended Francisco Sayhueque (played by Gustavo Rodríguez), son of the chief. Francisco opposes the condemnation of Moreno but nevertheless follows the orders to capture him. Moreno eventually escapes, and a few years later, outside the scope of the film, he founded the Museo de La Plata. In 1886 Moreno negotiated for the return of Tehuelche prisoners, whom he then kept in his museum and living exhibitions.

Fuga a la Patagonia is a well-made suspense film in the tradition of Argentine westerns (gauchos), and has some beautiful scenery. But it is hard to overlook the film's half-hearted acknowledgement of the dark side of Moreno's controversial legacy.

Official website:

Sinopsis en español:
Fuga de la Patagonia es un western gaucho ambientado en la bella y tumultuosa Patagonia de fines de Siglo XIX. Es una historia de supervivencia basada en hechos reales recogidos en el diario de su protagonista, el joven Francisco Perito Moreno. Moreno es un joven y entusiasta explorador que recorre la Patagonia virgen realizando investigaciones científicas. A causa del recrudecimiento de la Campaña del Desierto, es tomado prisionero por los mapuches y condenado a muerte. Logra escapar pero su ahijado mapuche, Francisco Sayhueque, es enviado a cazarlo. Este es el relato de esa fuga.

Director:Raúl Alberto Tosso
Writers:Carlos Paola, Jorge Pellegrini
Cinematography:Carlos Torlaschi
Music:Arnaldo di Pace
Year / length:1986. 96 minutes.
Setting:Trapalco, ProvinciaEl Cuy, Patagonia, 1976
Native Content:high
Released on:VHS-PAL
Rating: lousy ok good very good

Gerónima Sande, a Mapuche woman, lives with her four children in a one-room shack in the nearly deserted town of Trapalco, Provincia El Cuy, in the wilderness of Patagonia where the wind never stops howling. The oldest son occasionally catches an armadillo for them to eat, and they also live by the graces of the trading post. The film shows the lingering devastation wrought by the Argentine government's Campaña del Desierto of the 1880s, which forced the Mapuches out of their fertile land in the south and into the most inhospitable regions of Patagonia. You can't tell what century it is until a car appears halfway through the film. One day, the oldest son catches a large bird (a rhea?) on a neighbor's property, and the neighbor calls the authorities. When the police see the family's extreme poverty, Geronima is taken to a mental hospital, and the children are also examined. The doctors debate about what to do with the family living "like animals" and they interrogate her about her religion and customs to evaluate her sanity. Finally, they decide to release the family, and they go back to their squalor. Slow-paced, bleak, harrowing, the film occasionally brings to mind One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next. Mapuche actress Luisa Calcumil prepared for the role by not showering for six months. Based on actual events related in the book Geronima, by Dr. Jorge Pellegrini, published the same year. I have only seen Geronima on a very blurry VHS. The film was restored and digitized circa 2014.

Sinopsis en español:
La película reconstruye el drama verídico de Gerónima, una mujer mapuche que vivía alegrías, tristezas y privaciones con sus cuatro hijos en un humilde ranchito en la Patagonia en tierras que han pertencido a su pueblo por generaciones. En 1976 unos trabajadores sociales del hospital de la zona, buscando ayudarla internan a toda la familia para hacerles un chequeo general de salud, suponiendo que ésta sería delicada, dado la precariedad de sus condiciones de vida, pero esa ayuda se convierte para Gerónima en un verdadero infierno. Fue realizada en base a un guión de escrito a partir de la grabación de una entrevista a la verdadera Gerónima durante su estancia en el hospital. Es interpretada por la actriz mapuche Luisa Calcumil, quien debutó con esta actuación, al igual que Patricio Contreras y Mario Luciani. La música incluye canciones interpetadas por la cantante mapuche Aimé Painé.

Hombres de barro

(Men of Clay)
Director:Miguel Mirra
Writers:Miguel Mirra, Eulogio Frites
Cinematography:Gerardo Silvaticci
Music:Gustavo Moretto
Year / length:1988. 85 minutes.
Setting:Palca de Azparzo, Jujuy
Native Content:high
Released on:VHS (no subtitles)
Rating: lousy ok good

A group of filmmakers travel to a Qolla community in Salta to film their folkways. We see all aspects of their life: farming, herding, cooking, football, and making music during a Pachamama festival. In the course of filming, the leader of the Qolla community changes the filmmakers' view of what the documentary should be, and at the end of their visit they are changed. "La vida se puede ir amasando, como el barro": As life goes along, it becomes more pliant, like clay. An announcement at the beginning of the film states that this is neither fiction nor documentary, but I'd say it's closer to documentary. Only in the last half-hour of the film does it start to feel like fiction, when one of the men in the community travels with the filmmakers to the city to look for his son, whom he has not seen since he left to find a job. The urban scenes show people preparing for a parade for the "Mascara de la Conquista", wearing elaborate samba-like costumes far different from their Andean traditions. You can find reviews of Hombres de barro at the Miguel Mirra Blogspot. Warning: this film shows a sheep getting its throat cut, which some viewers might find disturbing (about 45 minutes in).

Horizontes de piedra

(Stone Horizons)
Director:Román Viñoly Barreto
Writers:Román Viñoly Barreto, Eliseo Montaine, Atahualpa Yupanqui
Cinematography:Antonio Prieto
Music:Atahualpa Yupanqui
Year / Length:1956. 86 minutes.
Setting:Cerro Bayo, Patagonia
Native Content:medium
Released on:DVD (Latin America)
Rating: lousy ok good very good

In Cerro Bayo, a mountainous region of Patagonia on the Chilean border, a Qolla Indian falls in love with a girl from another village. His mother disapproves of the relationship and hates the woman. When the girl becomes pregnant with his baby, he must travel to find better work, leaving her alone with the mother's wrath. Based on the 1943 novel Cerro Bayo : Vidas y costumbres montañesas by Atahualpa Yupanqui, the film is also richly embellished with the guitar maestro's soulful folk music. The excellent cinematography conveys the desolation of the pampa, but also warmly captures the Qolla people singing, dancing and farming. The film seems to validate the Inca saying, "El hombre es tierra que anda": Man is earth that walks.

Sinopsis en español:
Basada en la novela del folclorista Atahualpa Yupanqui, Cerro Bayo, en la cual recrea el mundo desolado del noroeste argentino, reconstruido por quien lo conoce profundamente y quien ha vivido y convivido dolores y urgencias con sus habitantes.

Largo viaje de nahuel pan

(The Long Journey of Nahuel Pan)
Director/writer:Jorge Zuhair Jury
Cinematography:Héctor Collodoro
Music:Jorge Candia
Year / Length:1995. 90 minutes.
Setting:Buenos Aires
Native Content:medium
Released on:none
Rating: lousy ok good

When a Mapuche community is displaced from their land by authorities, one of their members, Nahuel Pan (Fabián Gianola), decides to confront the president of Argentina and tell him about his people's problems. On the bus to Buenos Aires he meets Fernando (Alberto Segado), a gay businessman, who invites Nahuel to his home. Fernando's dissolute lifestyle of costume parties and heavy drinking begins to seem more and more empty and frivolous as he identifies with Nahuel's quest to overcome beaurocracy and indifference. Occasionally funny and ultimately heartbreaking.

Sinopsis en español:
Al ser desterrada la tribu Mapuche a la cual pertenece, Nahuel Pan decide emprender un viaje a la capital, para entrevistarse con el Presidente e informarle acerca del desamparo en que viven sus hermanos.


Director:Alberto de Zavalia
Writer:Hugo MacDougall
Cinematography:Roque Funes, Antonio Merayo, José Suárez
Music:Alberto Ginastera
Year / Length:1942. 95 minutes.
Setting:Santiago de Estero
Native Content:low
Released on:VHS (no subtitles)
Rating: lousy ok good
Based on a quechua legend, Malambo tells the story of a woman who lost her husband and son because of the greedy patrón of an hacienda. She swore that she would never remove the cloth over her eyes until her dead were avenged by the deaths of the patrón and his daughter. Nature seems to be on her side, since a drought has afflicted the land. Her other son, Malambo, accepts the duty of revenge. Malambo (Oscar Valicelli) is no normal human: he is the runa-uturungo, or Hombre Tigre, of Quechua lore, and he cannot be wounded by bullets. He leads the obreros to rise in revolt and defeats the patrón. However, instead of killing the patrón's daughter--the blind Urpila (Delia Garcés)--he falls in love with her, thereby breaking his mother's heart. Malambo follows in the path of other Argentinan labor revolt films such as Prisioneros de la tierra and Las aguas bajan turbias. The video released by Blakman, has poor video and sound quality, like most Blakman releases.

Sinopsis en español:
Malambo promete matar a a la ciega Urpila y a su padre (culpable de la miseria de Santiago de Estero) pero se anamora de aquella. El film es un verdadero poema cinematográfico, realizado en el tono y con la intención de un poema. Alberto de Zavalia se atrevió con una leyenda, llena de sugestión y misterio, evocando la lucha del hombre con la tierra seca. Malambo se enfrenta con el hombre egoista, que viene del mar a explotarlo, y el hombre contra el destino, cruel y despiadado que le arranca la fe y tuerce su vida. El tema sorprende por lo elevado de su concepción y por la poesía con que esta expresado. Poesía simbólica y drama de la vida humilde entroncan felizmente en Malambo.

Director/writer:Miguel Mirra
Cinematography: Javier Miquelez
Music:Los Jaivas (rock group)
Year / Length:1986. 85 minutes.
Setting:unnamed country, 16th century
Released on:none

The film tells two parallel stories. One, set in the present, tells of a pagent about the conquest of America, while the other, set in the 15th century, tells of a group of conquistadors coming ashore searching for gold. The film takes place in an unnamed country, but it is listed here since Mirra's other film, Hombres de barro, is also on this page. You can see a film clip on Mirra's blogspot at

Sinopsis en español:
El film tiene dos líneas de relato, una ambientada en el presente donde se representa una obra coreográfica sobre la conquista de América y otra ambientada en el siglo quince donde un grupo de conquistadores españoles desembarca en algún lugar de América y se interna en el continente en busca de oro. En ambos casos y de distinta forma, el continente les hará caer las máscaras, y les obligará a mostrar sus verdaderos rostros.

Mi hijo Ceferino

[Alternate title: Ceferino Indio Santo]
Director:Jorge Mobaied
Writer:Ulises Petit de Murat
Cinematography:Oscar Melli
Music:Horacio Malviccino
Year / Length:1972. 82 minutes.
Setting:Patagonia; Buenos Aires; Italy
Language: Spanish
Native Content:medium
Released on:none
Rating: lousy ok

Biopic of Ceferino Namuncurá (1886-1905), son of a Mapuche cacique and a white woman, and the first Indian of South America to be beatified. The film starts out as a war movie, showing his father Manuel battling the Spanish and taking a white woman as his captive bride. But little of interest happens after Ceferino is born. His beatification relies partly on his "miraculous" survival after falling in a stream as a baby, but the film does not present this with any great drama, and plods through the rest of the boy's life with similar tepor. Ceferino does well in school, attracts the interest of a priest, attends a Catholic school in Buenos Aires, and studies for the priesthood in Italy, where he dies of tuberculosis after a few unconvincing coughs. The only really interesting part of the movie is the tension between the father's warrior ethic and the boy's pious pacifism.
[Shown below is a photo of the historical Ceferino.]

Sinopsis en español:
Narra la vida del beato argentino y mapuche Ceferino Namuncurá, desde los momentos previos a su nacimiento, su juventud, sus años en el Colegio Salesiano, y su muerte en Roma.

Director: Juan Carlos Martínez
Writers:Colectivo Pueblo Moqoit
Year / Length:2011, 37 minutes.
Setting:Gancedo, Chaco; the present, (with flashbacks to pre-Colubmian times)
Language:Moqoit, Spanish
Native Content:very high
Rating: lousy ok good

Ñaalec (Fabián Valdez) is a Moqoit college student disenchanted with formal ways of learning and embarrassed by his drunken classmates. He seeks to recover his people's culture by learning from elders who still remember the old ways. Ñaalec travels to the Nanaicalo Nqote ("eye of the dragon"), a sacred lake whose water gave people the power of the gods. This docudrama is part of a series of community-created films supported by CEFREC (led by Iván Sanjinés, son of legendary Bolivian filmmaker Jorge Sanjinés). Other films in the series are El grito de la selva and Sirionó, both made in Bolivia.

Sinopsis en español:
Narra la historia de Ñaaleq, un joven moqoit que intenta redescubrir y recuperar la cultura de su pueblo a través de un viaje que lo llevará hacia lugares míticos de su territorio, en las entrañas del Chaco. Es la primera película realizada íntegramente por los pueblos originarios de la provincia.

Nave de los locos

(The Ship of Madmen)
Director:Ricardo Wullicher
Writer:Gustavo Wagner, Ricardo Wullicher
Cinematography:Jaume Peracaula
Music:Luis María Serra
Year / Length:1995. 104 minutes.
Setting:Santiago de Estero
Language:Spanish; some Mapudungun
Native Content:high
Released on:DVD (no subtitles)
Rating: lousy ok

When Pilkumán, cacique of the local Mapuche community, sees that machines are beginning to dig up their ancestral burial grounds, he sets fire to the hotel that has begun developing there. The hotel owner's son dies in the fire, and Pilkumán is arrested. Pilkumán (played by Mario Lorca) refuses to explain his actions, but the female lawyer who chooses to defend him learns that the cacique acted in accordance with Caleuche, the mythic ship of souls, which appeared to him and inspired his act. Despite the interesting premise, the film devolves into a run-of-the-mill courtroom drama that never really taps into its mythic material. Luisa Calcumil of Geronima finally returns to the screen to play the chamán in this film.

Sinopsis en español:
Laura, una joven abogada, y su marido médico deciden comenzar una nueva vida y se instalan en una pequeña ciudad de la Patagonia argentina. Agustín Márquez y su esposa Julia les reciben cálidamente, dándoles todo su apoyo. Agustín está construyendo un inmenso complejo turístico. En una noche trágica, un cacique de la tribu mapuche prende fuego al complejo causando la muerte de Gabriel, el hijo de Agustín y Julia. El cacique es detenido, se le acusa del siniestro y de la muerte de Gabriel. Laura, la abogada, va descubriendo la verdad de lo ocurrido gracias a la ayuda de una vidente.


Director:Santiago Mitre
Writers: Eduardo Borrás
Mariano Llinás
Santiago Mitre
Daniel Tinayre
Cinematography:Gustavo Biazzi
Music:Nicolás Varchausky
Setting:rural town near Brazil;
Buenos Aires;
Language:Spanish; some Guaraní
Native Content:medium-low
Released on:Youtube
Rating: lousy ok good very good

La Patota is a remake of a black and white 1960 melodrama that took place in a poor neighborhood of Buenos Aires (patota means street gang in Buenos Aires slang). The remake moves the the story to a small rural town near the Brasilian border, where a liberal non-profit organization has founded a school to educate indigenous youth. Paulina, the daughter of a prominent judge, steps away from a promising law career to teach civics in the new school. Within days she is raped a group of youths, some of whom turn out to be her students. Paulina seems bent on denying the severity, or even the reality, of the incident. She returns to the school to teach, and when she learns the identity of the oldest rapist, she declines to press charges. When she learns she is pregnant, she decides not to have an abortion. Her incomprehensible behavior exasperbates her father, her boyfriend, her co-teachers at the school, and is ultimately unexplained in the film. This will be hard to watch for many. But the acting is excellent, especially the powerful performance by Dolores Fonzi as Paulina. Paulina is the U.S. title.

Available on Youtube:

Sinopsis en español:
Paulina es una abogada con una carrera floreciente en Buenos Aires, que elige volver a su ciudad natal para dedicarse a la actividad social. Fernando, su padre, años atrás hizo lo mismo, y ahora es un juez progresista que se destaca en la conservadora sociedad local. Paulina empieza a trabajar en un proyecto del Ministerio de Desarrollo Social, de "formación democrática y difusión de derechos," dando clases en zonas periféricas de Misiones, marcadas por la pobreza y la marginalidad. Luego de la segunda semana de trabajo, es interceptada y violada por una patota. Ante la mirada atónita de quienes la rodean, Paulina decide volver a trabajar en la escuela, en el barrio donde fue atacada.

(A King and his Movie)
Director:Carlos Sorín
Writer:Jorge Goldenberg, Carlos Sorín
Cinematography:Esteban Courtalon
Music:Carlos Franzetti
Year / Length:1985. 107 minutes.
Setting:Buenos Aires; Patagonia; 1980s
Language:Spanish; some Mapundungun
Native Content:medium
Released on:DVD
Rating: lousy ok good very good

Orélie-Antoine de Tounens was a French lawyer who, while traveling through Argentina in 1860, sympathized with the Mapuche Indians and used his legal expertise to defend them against the invading governments of Argentina and Chile. Declaring himself king of Patagonia and Araucania, Tounens united the various Mapuche tribes, created a flag, and even minted coins. Unfortunately Tounens was captured, declared insane, and sent back to France. Cut to the 20th century: a filmmaker (played by Julio Chávez), fascinated with the story of Tounens, decides to make a film about it against all odds. He suffers a series of mishaps, including the desertion of the producer, actors, and crew, legal tangles, financial woes, union problems, and anything else that can go wrong with making a film. Enduring it all and never giving up, Arturo begins to seem as mad and Quixotic as the King of Patagonia himself. But as we watch him bring his film to completion with ingenious improvisations devised to overcome obstacles, we come to appreciate the bond between madness and the creative drive. This is a delightful film, although as the scenes of the film-within-a-film get better and better, it leaves us hungry to see that epic movie Arturo makes.

Sinopsis en español:
Un director de cine que prepara una película sobre Oreille Antoine de Tounens, un ciudadano francés que en 1860 se autoproclamó rey de la Patagonia y Araucania. El director del film se queda a último momento sin productor, y consecuentemente sin resursos, para filmar, pero decide continuar de todas formas con su proyecto, salga como salga, sin actores profesionales y cambiando todas las ideas que había originariamente. Pero como no es el único problema con el que se va a cruzar, las cosas en el rodaje empiezan a empeorar, y deberá sortear varios otros imprevistos. Opera prima del director Carlos Sorín, premiada en los festivales de Venecia y de La Habana, y ganadora del Premio Goya al mejor film latino.


Director:Lautaro Murúa
Writer:Augusto Roa Bastos, Jorge W. Abalos
Cinematography:Vicente Cosentino
Music:Waldo de los Ríos
Year / Length:1960. 72 minutes.
Setting:Huaico Hondo, a Quichua settlement in Santiago del Estero
Language:Spanish; some Quichua
Native Content:medium-high
Released on:VHS-PAL (no subtitles)
Rating: lousy ok good

Based on the 1949 novel Shunko by Jorge W. Abalos (1915-1979). A teacher comes to a remote Quichua settlement to introduce reading and writing to the children. The education turns out to be mutual, as the teacher learns much about their culture and how it sustains them in their primitive, arduous lives. When he gives a scientific explanation of an eclipse, the children find his story unsatisfactory, and bring him to an old woman who tells the story of how the sun and moon were in love. The film features child actors with no prior experience, most of whom had never even seen a movie before, let alone acted in one. Their naturalistic performances free the film from cuteness or sentimentality. The story culminates when the children are invited to a gathering of schools and a fight breaks out between the ragged campesinos and the well-dressed pupils from the wealthier schools. At 72 minutes, Shunko leaves out many scenes from the book that could have been included, leaving the viewer wishing for more. UNESCO chose Shunko as the most important film in Argentine history. This film is similar to Veronico Cruz, but the emphasis in Shunko is not on the titular character (played by Angel Greco) but on the community as a whole.

Sinopsis en español:
El argumento trata sobre la relación entre un maestro (Lautaro Murúa), educado en la gran ciudad, que es destinado a una escuela rural en la provincia de Santiago del Estero, en la que los alumnos son quechua hablantes. Inicialmente los prejuicios etnocentristas del maestro y su ignorancia de la cultura quechua y los niños, lo llevan a entrar en conflicto con sus alumnos y a distanciarse de ellos. Poco a poco es el maestro el que comienza a aprender de sus alumnos y a establecer una relación de respeto y aprendizaje mutuo.

La ultima siembra

(The Last Harvest)
Director/writer: Miguel Pereira
Cinematography:Esteban Courtalon
Music:Takuta Gordillo, Ariel Petrocelli
Year / Length:1991. 115 minutes.
Setting:Jujuy (province of NW Argentina)
Native Content:medium
Released on:VHS (no subtitles)
Rating: lousy ok good very good

After his son dies in a mining accident, a Qolla Indian named Chauqui (Patricio Contreras) leaves the mine and finds work on an hacienda, raising corn. The hacendero is kind and gives Chauqui his own plot of land, but Chauqui is harassed by another worker, an arrogant, drunken gaucho. The gaucho's illegitimate son José (played by Gonzalo Morales, who starred in the director's first film Veronico Cruz) befriends Chauqui. One day the hacendero's son Patricio returns from college in the U.S. to introduce modern farming and business practices. When the hacendero is injured in a riding accident, Patricio takes over management of the hacienda, and he orders Chauqui to clear the cornfield in a week. When he returns to find the cornfield still standing and Chauqui hungover, they fight, and Patricio has him arrested. Chronicling the rapid social changes of the 20th century through a gripping family saga, La Ultima siembra is reminiscent of William Faulkner's great novels. Based on the 1967 short story collection Los Humildes, by Miguel Pereira, the director's father. (If you like La ultima siembra, you might also like the Mexican film Casta Divina, another complex story of illegitimate relationships on a plantation.)

Sinopsis en español:
En el noroeste de Argentina, Chauqui, un minero jujeño de sangre índia, pide trabajo en la estancia La Almona, porque quiere alejarse de su ocupación anterior luego de que su hijo perdiera la vida en un accidente. En La Almona, Chauqui cae bajo la dominación del altivo gaucho Julián, aunque logra hacerse amigo del hijo natural de éste, José. La estancia también es escenario de la puja entre los que andan a caballo, y los que prefieren una mas "moderna" bicicleta, lo cual no es sino reflejo superficial de un conflicto mas profundo, que se agudiza con la llegada de Patricio, un ingeniero agrónomo que regresa diplomado de los Estados Unidos. Patricio trae nuevas ideas, apoyado en los datos y estadísticas que le brinda su computadora, y se dispone de inmediato a ponerlas en práctica. Las consecuencias serán, inevitablemente, dramáticas y hasta violentas.

El ultimo malon

(The Last Uprising)
Director/writer:Alcides Greca
Year / Length:1917. 72 minutes.
Setting:Santa Fe, San Javier, 1904
Native Content:high
Released on:none
Rating: lousy ok

Silent film depicting an uprising of 900 Mocoví Indians in San Javier, a town in the Santa Fe province of Argentina on April 21, 1904. Much of the first is like a documentary, showing the Mocovíes' lifestyle: they hunt birds (guacamayas, tuyangos, ostriches), and a small alligator called yacaré; they imbibe an alcoholic drink called latagá, and they participate in dances and in a parade to the patron saint Javier. After the anthropological sequence, we see the events leading up to the rebellion. The old corrupt cacique Bernardo López has been given land by the gringos and lives a life of comfort with his young companion, the mestiza Rosa Paiquí (played by Rosa Volpe). He becomes jealous when, at a dance, he sees Rosa dancing with his bastard brother, Jesús Salvador López. He banishes Rosa to an island. Salvador leads a rebellion against the rich gringos, but the rebellion is not successful. He rescues Rosa from the island and they ride off together on a horse, while the Mocovíes flee to Gran Chaco. For its uniqueness and antiquity (it is one of the oldest surviving Argentine films), El último malón is a fascinating document, but probably not a great film in its own right. It works like a children's picture book, with both text and images superfluously describing each action, rather than using just a minimum of text to explain what the images cannot convey. Writer-director Alcides Greca (1889-1956), whose father emigrated from Germany, was born in San Javier and became a writer and lawyer. One of the slain Indians found after the revolt had been a servant in his house, with whom he had been close as a boy. Many of the actors he used in the film, both white and Mocovi, had taken part in the revolt. Greca later wrote a novel, Viento norte: novela del norte santafecino (1927), which included a chapter on the 1904 uprising.

Sinopsis en español:
Reconstrucción de la última rebelión indígena de los Mocovíes en San Javier, al norte de la provincia de Santa Fe, en 1904. Al principio se expone la situación a la que el avance de la civilización ha reducido a los indios, despojados de tierras. Luego se cuenta el ataque del malón y su derrota. Uno de los personajes a través de los cuales seguimos la historia es Salvador Jesús, líder indígena que reclama la devolución de las tierras a su pueblo. Ahí están también los comerciantes que han introducido el alcohol entre los indios, que lo desconocían, para explotarlos; los estancieros que se han quedado con las tierras expropiadas; la policía y el Ejército que sólo parecen estar ahí para reprimir. Pero acaso lo más notable del film sea la manera en que se anticipó al cine documental apenas posterior y también a algunas tendencias que se consolidarían ocho décadas después: el cruce entre el registro documental (cuando se muestra la vida en las tolderías) y la ficción.

"El hecho histórico está, y es que a los indios los hicieron mierda," dice Fernando Martín Peña, acerca de una situación sobre la que la película no deja lugar a dudas. “Y el punto de vista desde el cual se presenta al indio es coherente: la derrota del malón tiene que ver con las divisiones internas de los indios. Mientras que la ciudad está toda junta esperándolos, y hasta se muestra el falseo de la información que el hombre blanco recibe sobre el indio: a Rosario llega la noticia de que se acercan en hordas tremendas. El hombre blanco es visto de manera negativa, en tanto se lo acusa de introducir el alcohol en la vida del indio, así como se habla de cómo se le sacó la tierra y se lo dejó sin nada. Pero cuando se pone al espectador del lado del indio se lo hace de una forma no compasiva; no se lo exculpa por lo que hizo mal o por no saber organizarse mejor para encontrar una estrategia, no se lo idealiza, ni perpetúa el mito del buen salvaje, sino que se le reconocen los derechos que le corresponden, que es algo que no se hacían es esa época.

Burretita de Ypacarai
(Armando Bo, 1962)
Condor de oro
(Enrique Muzio, 1996)
Crónica de un extraño
(Miguel Mirra, 1997)
[A Qolla teenager moves to Buenos Aires to become a boxer. Unfinished.]
Excursion a los indios ranqueles
(Derlis M. Beccaglia, 1965) [unfinished]
Hijo del rio
(Ciro Cappellari, 1991)
La India
(Armando Bo, 1960)
Leyenda del puente inca
(José A. Ferreyra, 1923)
Milagro de Ceferino Namuncurá
(Máximo Berrondo, 1971)
[A Mapuche woman married to a businessman is cured by a mapuche curandero.]
Nobleza gaucha
(Humberto Cairo, 1915, 63 min.)
Nosilatiaj [La Belleza]
(Daniela Seggiaro, 83 min, 2012)
(Alejandro Arroz, 2013, 90 min.)
[Celina, an 11- year old girl from a Qolla community, wants to become a teacher and preserve the traditions of the highlands.]
Pampa barbara
(Lucas Demare & Hugo Fregonese, 1945)
[Malon Indians and gauchos battle for territory in the pampas.]
Las pistas - Lanhoyij - Nmitaxanaxac
(Sebastián Lingiardi, 2010, 50 min.)
[A spy story with Wichi and Toba characters.]
(Mini-series, 2010)
Prisioneros de la tierra
(Mario Soffici, 1939) [based on stories by Horacio Quiroga]
Savage Pampas
(Hugo Fregonese, 1965) [U.S. remake of Pampa barbara]
Sip’Ohi, el lugar del manduré
(Sebastián Lingiardi, 2011)
Tayin Mapu: Leyendas Mapuches
(Facundo Ramilo, 2005)
Tiempos menos modernos
(Simon Franco, 2012)
Trueno entre las hojas
(Armando Bo, 1958)
[Clásico antológico que inicia al binomio Sarli-Bó en el cine, con drama social y contestatario, acerca de la explotación del hombre en los obrajes y quebrachales. Basado en cuento de Augusto Roa Bastos. Pero cuando llega al medio de la selva Isabel con su cuerpo…se produce el caos! Realiza su primer baño, para quedarse en la historia del cine.]
Ultimo Perro
(Lucas Demare, 1956)
Viento Sur
(Mini-series, Sergio Cento Docato, 2012)
Zafra (Lucas Demare, 1958)
[Qollas living on the Argentine-Bolivian border are enslaved on sugar plantations.]


Martín Fierro (Leopoldo Torre Nilsson, 1968)

La Vuelta de Martín Fierro (Leopoldo Torre Nilsson, 1974)

Los hijos de Fierro (Fernando Solanas, 1984) [allegory mixing Fierro legend with the life of Juan Domingo Perón]

Martín Fierro (Fernando Laverde, 1989) [cartoon]

Martín Fierro, el ave solitaria (Gerardo Vallejo, 2006)

Martín Fierro, la película (Norman Ruiz, Liliana Romero, Fontanarrosa, 2007) [cartoon]

Vuelta de Martin Fierro (Enrique Dawi, 1974) [musical]

A Juan, jefe de tribu
Collective authorship, 1991, 8 min.
A personal meditation in the form of a letter addressed to a Guarani man living near the Iguazu waterfall.
Una reflexión personal en forma de misiva dirigida al jefe de un poblado guaraní, ubicado en las inmediaciones, en las cataratas de Iguazú.

La canoa de Ulises
Diego Fió, 14 min.
Itaeté y Ulises, un anciano y un adolescente guaraní, están internados en el monte construyendo una canoa. Itaeté trata de inculcarle su legado tradicional, pero el muchacho no está muy interesado. Su verdadera vocación está vinculada a la música. Es rapero. Un accidente hace que Ulises reciba y acepte el legado tradicional de la construcción de canoas.

Catalina y el sol
Anna Paula Hönig, 2015, 16 minutes.
Una película poética sobre el ciclo del sol, el traspaso de sabiduría y la solidaridad entre dos mujeres. En la Quebrada de Humahuaca vive una niña llamada Catalina. Su abuela Rosa cuenta historias tras historias para su pueblo, para el mundo, y para el sol. Catalina tiene miedo a que el sol se apague y que no regrese si su abuela Rosa dejara de contar historias. En la noche se decide si Catalina sigue con la larga tradición de las contadoras de historias para que el sol vuelva a comenzar su recorrido por el cielo.

Correa, la difunta
Roly Ruiz, 2014, 24 min.
María Correa vive con su pequeño hijo en una zona rural del Chaco, que es asediada constantemente por un estanciero recién llegado a la zona. Una noche su marido desaparece, por lo que ella decide enfrentar al estanciero y sus secuaces hasta las últimas consecuencias. El corto es una adaptación libre del mito que tiene origen en la Provincia de San Juan. Está ambientado a mediados de 1960 y ha sido realizado íntegramente en la provincia del Chaco.

Les diamants des jaguars
Raoul Held, 1984, 25 min.
A legend tells how jaguars guard the lost treasure of the Guarari from the greed of white men.
Una leyenda narra cómo los jaguares resguardan el tesoro perdido de los guaraní de la ambición de los hombres "blancos".

Pablo Garzón, 5 min.
Boyhood memories of a festival in Iruya, Salta.

El fantasma del Inca
Facundo Larraux, 11 min.
A man (Jose Maria Vais) from the Inka period is transported to a present-day rural school, where he learns alongside the children, unseen. When the local politician wants to close the school, he helps them to keep the school open.

Hijos de la tierra
José Roberto Levy, 2000, 24 min.
Three short stories: In Maimara, a town in Jujuy, Paulino and Delia have to join a cooperative to sell their vegetables. In Mexico, the poet Don Lola only grows corn in season. During the rest of the year he and his twin sister survive on money sent by cousins in the U.S. In Tuti, a town in Arequipa, Peru, Lazaro grows diseased potatoes while his wife Narcisa works in a restaurant.
Paulino y Delia, de Maimará, tienen que integrar en una cooperativa porque tenían muchos problemas para producir y vender sus verduras. Don Lolo es un humilde poeta de Tonaya (México) que sólo siembra maíz de temporal y que el resto del año sobrevive junto a su hermana melliza gracias a los dólares que les mandan los sobrinos de Estados Unidos. Otros ya no quieren perpetuarse, así que trabajan para que sus hijos estudien y dejen de trabajar la tierra. Lázaro, de Tuti (Perú), cosecha papas enfermas mientras Narcisa, su esposa, atiende un restaurancito. Esperando el amanecer, la lluvia y la suerte, labran su vida los hijos de la tierra.

Mar Luchetta, 2008, 15 min.
Based on the novel Lluvia seca by José Luis Parisse. A mestiza girl goes to her dying nanny, a Mapuche woman, to participate in her leave-taking ritual in Lago Nahuel Huapí. The famous dancer Maximiliano Guerra plays the chief (lonco), and also native actors from the Paisil-Antriao community.
Nieve Roja, muchacha mestiza, acude a la ceremonia donde su Nodriza mapuche, (interpretada por Sofía Antriao, integrante de la Comunidad Paisil-Antriao), es despedida de esta Tierra, con todos los auténticos rituales propios del pueblo originario mapuche.

Lucrecia Martel, 2011, 11 min.
Two Diaguita children are grazing their cows when two men on motorcycles come along and tell them it is their land. At school the two kids learn that measurements were different at the time the property was divided, and the land is actually theirs.
Availalbe on Vimeo:

La mirada perdida
Damián Dionisio, 2011, 10 min.
En el año 1976, Claudio se ve obligado a vivir junto a su familia en la clandestinidad, debido a sus ideales políticos. Su escondite es descubierto por un grupo de tareas, que no tardará en llevar adelante su procedimiento. Sin tiempo para huir, Claudio intentará bajo todos los medios proteger a su familia. Su mujer, Teresa, preocupada por lo que su hija pueda llegar a ver, toma la decisión de pintar los anteojos que la niña lleva puestos, para intentar alejarla lo más posible del horror que está a punto de vivir. De esta manera, la niña se refugiará en su mundo de fantasías para evitar observar la cruda realidad.

La Tehuelchina
Teresa Maria Saporiti, 2012, 13 min.
A Tehuelche woman is stuck with an alcoholic husband. When he dies, none of the authorities want him buried in their jurisdiction, so she must dig the grave herself.
Tehuelchina (interpretada por Carolina Bravo) es una mujer indígena en el valle de El Manso, en su límite con Chile. Su marido (Héctor Mauricio González) es un típico poblador rural de montaña, con quien vive "la china". En copas, cae del caballo junto al hito internacional y muere. Ni los gendarmes, ni los carabineros, aceptan enterrarlo en su jurisdicción. Por ello, la joven debe sepultarlo con su propio esfuerzo, bajo las costumbres de los tehuelches, antiguos pobladores de la región.

Catalina y el sol


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