The two films screened in curator Margarita de la Vega-Hurtados CINEMATHEQUE: Latin American Third Cinema program at Rice Universitys Media Center are classic examples of agitprop filmmaking at its best and/or most blatant. Shot between 1966 and 1972, Chircales (Brickmakers), by noted Colombian filmmaker Marta Rodriguez, is a not-too-subtle indictment of socioeconomic injustice as we bear witness and thats what her camera etches so indelibly to the grueling poverty and degrading conditions of life for the Castañeda family, straining to get by in the shantytown farms south of Bogotá where they make bricks. The documentary is harsh, fierce, grubby and ineffably sad as the entire family struggles daily to survive, caught in a web of virtual slavery. (The Israelites had it easier in Egypt.)
The short Now (1965), by Santiago Alvarez, Cubas preeminent documentarian, is exactly what youd expect from this 60s filmmaker who glorified Castro. His trenchant view of U.S. race relations he ironically juxtaposes archival pix and footage of civil rights marches against a background score of Lena Horne singing protest lyrics to the tune of Hava Nagila packs an expected wallop since its made entirely out of exclamation points. 7 p.m. 6100 Main. For information, call 713-348-3138 or visit www.ricecinema.rice.edu. Free.
Thu., Feb. 19, 7 p.m., 2009