"Classes of struggle. The film work of Eugenio Polgovsky (A tribute)"
Eugenio Polgovsky’s was a documentary filmmaker who made up part of what might be called a "founding movement", one that rediscovered nonfiction in the digital age. One which, in the face of far-off cries declaring paths in filmmaking as having long been exhausted, injected new life into cinema by making the best use of new digital technology. One in which bold artists in the early 2000s would use their new cameras as a driving force behind the reinvention of hard-hitting audio-visual language in documentary film and little industry cinema.
These parameters today in 2018 have been taken on entirely. In 2004 when Polgovsky finished his first feature-length documentary, Tropic of Cancer, they were just at the beginning of a path. They were part of a founding movement in not just Mexico and Latin America, but worldwide as well. And not just in film directing either: their contributions would lead to new ways for producing film, to the creation of new places for exhibiting cinema, and in the end, a way for creating, seeing and understanding 21st century film.
Digital media makes it possible to shoot lots of footage, an over-abundance even, but Polgovsky's legacy was selective: four feature films in about twelve years. And indeed, his film work dealt with specific issues that lie at the canonical core of documentary filmmaking, also to be found in New Latin American Cinema. Filming with the aim of influencing, of calling out a fact of unfairness, disproportion, inequality, with the idealism of being able to change it, condemn it, bring it into the spotlight. His honesty as an artist was such that this vindication would express a truthful social and political vision, an undeniable commitment to the people being filmed, to the Earth and to nature, palpable throughout his films.
From the everyday, hunting-based lives in a isolated territory (Tropic of Cancer) and the child workers in rural areas (Los Herederos), to the flow of energies in the country's nerve center (Mitote) and the defense of nature and those who fight to protect it (Resurrection), these represent the clearest proof of his honesty, in this land called Mexico, where just his framing of shots ooze with criticism and reflection (though most of all with love) and where he captured the memories of our present day with great independence and a singular vision.
Miquel Martí Freixas