Jorge Sanjinés is known for his Marxist agenda, bringing highly political films of a revolutionary aesthetic to peasant and working-class audiences in the Andean highlands. The films that characterized the 'New Latin American Cinema' or Third Cinema provided an alternative to First (Capitalist) Cinema, making the social collective act as the protagonists of these films rather than an individual hero.
The 1969 film Blood of the Condor (Yawar Mallku) by Sanjinés reveals the story of the undisclosed sterilization of Andean Indian women by a "Progress Corps" (standing in for the American Peace Corps) clinic. This film is thought to have led to the expulsion of the Peace Corps from Bolivia in an act of anti-imperialist cultural nationalism by the indigenous people.
After showings of Yawar Mallku, Sanjinés learned that many peasants had criticism about the difficulty of his films due to the use of flashback for narration, as his film-making was greatly influenced by European art cinema, and about the lack of attention to denouncing the causes of the indigenous peoples' issues. He took this into account when making his next film, called El coraje del pueblo (The Courage of the People), in 1971. El coraje del pueblo worked with untrained actors, many of them peasants themselves. This marked the beginning of a stage in Sanjinés's career characterized by filming "with the people."
Jorge Sanjinés worked under strained film-making conditions, with limited funding, few production facilities, and little Bolivian movie tradition to draw upon.
Problems of Form and Content in Revolutionary Cinema
Problems of Form and Content in Revolutionary Cinema is a Film manifesto written by Jorge Sanjinés in 1976 as a a part of the Third Cinema Latin American film movement.. This manifesto, along with Glauber Rocha’s “Aesthetic of Hunger” (1965), Julio García Espinosa’s “For an Imperfect Cinema” (1969), and “Toward a Third Cinema” (1969) by Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino. are accredited to creating the Third Cinema movement.
In explaining the importance of revolutionary cinema, Sanjinés makes note of the importance of using film as a method of communication in expressing revolutionary concepts. He argues that film can be a good medium for these ideas because of the widespread communicability of film. Although advocating the use of film, he makes note of the importance of being careful when using such a capitalist concept.
We cannot attack the ideology of imperialism by using its own formal tricks and dishonest techniques, whose raison d'être is to stupefy and deceive. Not only do such methods violate revolutionary morality; they also correspond structurally to the ideology and content of imperialism.
In the argument against Hollywood's notions of Cinema, Sanjinés attempts to dissuade from the use of individualism in film. As the Third Cinema is ultimately revolutionary in concept, Sanjinés says that revolutionary films must be a collective work.
Revolutionary cinema, as it reaches maturity, can only be collective, just as the revolution itself is collective.
The use of Language and speech, as a revolutionary tool is talked about in depth in this manifesto. The idea of script is challenged, Sanjinés instead advocating using only actors qualified to act out things based on their own memory. An example of this is during the filming of The Courage of the People Sanjinés only used actors who could portray the depicted events as they themselves remember them.
The peasants used the filming to break the silence of oppression and speak openly.
Sanjinés continues to say that "Cinema and reality came together". This shows how Sanjinés views the importance of breaking free from traditional film structures to achieve a truthful and revolutionary final product
The final section of this manifesto talks about the problems of distributing revolutionary cinema, and how it might seem futile to make a film if you have no means of distribution, it is still important to make the film. Although many of these revolutionary films are undistributable where they could have the largest impact, Sanjinés tells of how there are other ways of distributing the film throughout the world and advocates the use of these channels. Although anti-imperialist, Sanjinés advocates the viewings of his films to European and American audiences for educational purposes.
- Sueños y realidades (1962)
- Revolución (1963)
- Ukamau, or And So It Is (1966)
- Yawar Mallku, or Blood of the Condor (1969)
- El coraje del pueblo, or The Courage of the People (1971)
- El enemigo principal, or The Principal Enemy (1974)
- Fuera de aquí, or Get out of Here! (1981)
- Las banderas del amanecer (1983)
- La nación clandestina (1989)
- Para recibir el canto de los pájaros (1995)
- Los hijos del último jardín (2004)
- Insurgentes (2012)
- La Ventana, portal informativo de la Casa de las Americas. "Anuncian Premios ALBA de las artes y las letras en FILVEN 2009" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- "Problems of Form and Content in Revolutionary Cinema".
- Geidel, Molly. "Sowing Death in Our Women's Wombs": Modernization and Indigenous Nationalism in the 1960s Peace Corps and Jorge Sanjinés' Yawar Mallku. American Quarterly - Volume 62, Number 3, September 2010, pp. 763-786
- Rosalind Galt, Karl Schoonover. Global Art Cinema: New Theories and Histories. 2010, pp. 359.
- "El enemigo principal". Conacine. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23.
- "Film Reference: SANJINÉS, Jorge".
- Stam, Robert (2003). "Beyond Third Cinema: The Aesthetics of Hybridity". In Gunerante, Anthony R.; Dissanayake, Wimal. Rethinking Third Cinema. London: Routledge. pp. 31–48.