In Argentina, confusion and uncertainty at present dominate the film industry -- the largest in Latin America.
In Argentina, confusion and uncertainty at present dominate the film industry -- the largest in Latin America. At least four films already in production have been suspended since the military government took power in the 24th of March this year. Four more have been completed, but have since been banned. Current censorship guidelines specify that films should "exalt the nation's spiritual, moral and Christian values and affirm the concepts of family, order, respect, hard work and social responsibility". But so far, few directors have been able to come up with plots that meet these requirements.
SYNOPSIS: A shortage of new releases is reflected in half-empty cinemas -- even at weekends, when the people of Buenos Aires normally spend their leisure at the movies. Cinema owners reckon that attendances were down between 40 and 50 per cent in the first six months of this year.
Companies which last year screened 300 feature films in Argentina, 33 of them local productions, estimate that the total for this year will not exceed 180, with a maximum of 15 Argentine productions. A well known director Senor Leopoldo Torre Nilsson, whose film "Liedre Libre" has been banned, prefers to work abroad. And the country's other directors are thinking of joining him.
There is no work money in the industry for those who don't live up to the military guidelines.
Some Argentine directors have opted out of the effort to make films for an adult pubic. For the time being they seem to be more attracted by children's entertainment. And foreign directors who care about their films are generally unwilling to submit their work for possible mutilation by the chief film censor, Senor Miguel Tato.
Long-awaited movies like "Jaws" arrived in the capital's cinema-land after a considerable delay. One reason for this is a government order that at least 60 per cent of the copies of imported films must e made in Argentine laboratories. The order aims to ensure employment for laboratory personnel, but cannot be carried out for technical reasons.