"The crowd loves strong men." - Mussolini
"The camera looks for the new important man. In the jostling crowd, it tries to lay hold of Ion Iliescu.” – Harun Farocki, Videograms of a Revolution (1992)
Juan Perón. To the right of Che and collaborator with right wing factions of Argentina, but somehow a subject worthy of veneration for leftists Solanas and Getino in this two-hour interview where they allow Perón (from his exile in Francoist Spain) to play the vanguardist. Peronism, the Argentine third position, always struck me as a personality cult led by opportunists. But this really puts it into perspective.
More épater la bourgeoisie than political. And rather efficient at that, considering its director. But ultimately a useless film, apart from its value as a litmus test.
It matters a lot who is behind the camera. If the topics remained intact and this were a film by, say Tariq Teguia, and the industry somehow allowed it the same production, exposure, and access to music rights. Then my bullshit meter wouldn't have gone off the scale as quickly.
There's the portrayal and adaptation of James Baldwin and his memoir, respectively, and then there is the portrait, which is this documentary as a form. For all the prestige and seriousness the former grants to the latter, this yet another ugly reiteration of usual documentary modes in contemporary media, from its editing and typography, to the way photographs and music are used.
I am reminded of Mark Daniels and Melvin Van Peebles' Classified X for an excellent example of a documentary that is up to the task of facing America’s history of racism as lived through one person (in that case, Melvin Van Peebles).