Monday, May 09, 2011

"Fingere" by Alejandro Ferrer: A Leftist Heart Set Free

Alejandro Ferrer: “You cannot spend your life working. Life is more than working. Life is creating.”

Thanks to my long-time friend and colleague John Opdycke, director of development at independentvoting.org (CUIP), I attended a wonderful film this past week by Alejandro Ferrer called Fingere Fingere is a humanistic picture of a very inhuman development of our collective history that plays seriously with history, ideology and social issues - very playfully.


Fingere ("Fingered" is the Google Translation) was presented at the Millennium Film Workshop on the Lower East Side of Manhattan as part of the Videoteca Del Sur Film Fesival on Tuesday, May 3rd.

Fingere takes place and is filmed in Chicago and in the mountains of the Chilean Patagonia, the southern most area of South America, which I learned includes both Chile and Argentina.  Created by Alejandro Ferrer, a native of Patagonia, Chile, this wandering journey through an expansive, remote and beautiful landscape, with some pretty outlandish and wonderful characters, is delightfully playful, thoroughly human, strongly South American (according to my friend Don Maycaza), and, in my opinion, an inspiring portrayal of a leftist heart set free.

I absolutely loved this movie.  It's immigrants, it's America, it's Let's Pretend, it's "We've declared our independence", it's actors performing against type, it's the people vs. corporate capitalism. Fingere is the Good Fight through and through.

The story: Tertullian Correa, a character created by a Chicago advertising agency to campaign for tourism in the Chilean Patagonia, and make millions for the agency, "feels his oats" in his native land of Patagonia. Tertullian romps on the mountainous landscape by foot and (miraculously) by bicycle and bus (the "smoke break" scene is what I think relaxed my over-weight North American/European brain) and escapes the clutches of the ad agency. Sorta. They still have his cell phone number, and Peggy Sue (classico!) calls Tertullian trying to ratchet him in. To no avail. The Chicago ad crew is miffed and increasingly disturbed. Globalism hangs in the balance. Or at least the fate of the Chicago ad agency... Characters pop in and out between Chicago and Patagonia à la Star Trek's "Beam me up, Scotty", or Fred Newman's Outing Wittgenstein's "Past-Transfo."


Fingere Trailer from Fernando Ferrer on Vimeo.


Vignettes include a "virtual war" between Chileans and Argentineans, a beautiful woman who is smitten by a charming chameleon "horse trainer," the national poets who are more and more outspokenly irrelevant but endlessly outspoken, and many more stories from the irreverent and diverse grouping of Truco card players that star in the film Tertullian has assembled.
"Truco is not a game. It is more a philosophy of life where the practice is more important than the results."
I became engaged in this film within the first scenes.  I felt as though I was watching a "new film genre" where real people make "real" movies with their "real" friends and family members (most of the Chicago crew were sons and friends of the filmmaker) about their "real" lives. In a sense, probably every (at least first-time) filmmaker does that. But on the other hand, we don't often get to see that because Hollywood is so god-like. And independent films don't get much play. And in this instance, more importantly, we get to see "fantasy" become reality -- a big no-no in our current reality-determined society.

Tertullian's challenge to his antagonists on his home turf "We declare our independence," is a challenge to all of us. Choose independence. It's as simple as that.

Fingere, won the prize for best film at the Chicago Independent Film Festival and was reviewed here at Diario Electronico de Puerto Natales.

Please explore this film. And get to know Alejandro Ferrer. Check out the interview of Ferrer in Immigrant Connect Chicago:
This all changed on Sept. 11, 1973, when Allende was assassinated. The military took over and declared a state of war, “…which [was] very dangerous. They could do whatever they wanted,” Ferrer recalls. Over the next three years, the military detained some 130,000 people. Ferrer was one of them...
Thank you, Alejandro, for this gift!

3 comments:

Alejandro Ferrer said...

Alejandro Ferrer

Alejandro Ferrer said...

Dear Nancy,
Thank you very much for your magnificent text. I'm going to translate it for the people of Puerto Natales. This is going to be the best present for them: in a couple of weeks they are going to celebrate 100 years since the foundation of town!!
We forgive the "google translation machine"; "fingere" is a Latin word that means "to feign, to pretend"; from 'fingere' also derives the word 'fictio' which translate as 'fiction'.
For your loyal readers I want to mention that we already downloaded this movie in Youtube under the name ferrer11.
The actors are friends of mine, or relatives –yes, my kids and my daughter in law (Peggy Sue)-; the other actors are taxi-cub drivers, teachers, workers, farmers, the Mayor of the town, peasants, cowboys, shepherds, etc., all of them "aficionados" (like myself).
We spend almost no money at all; everyone worked for the love of acting in this adventure. The only professionals were the editor and the camerawoman that study moviemaking in Cuba and Chile, and they also did it for the love of helping us.
Thank you again, Nancy: your words means a lot to us.
Alejandro Ferrer (milodon50@hotmail.com)

Nancy Hanks said...

Alejandro -- thanks so much for your comment. I am thrilled that you will be able to use it as a gift for the people of Puerto Natales! If you send me the translation, I would post it on The Hankster for our Spanish-speaking readers. I have told JB that we should make Fingere a "cult film" here in NYC! (And I'm glad to hear the root of the word 'fingere' -- that makes much more sense!!!)

Let's stay in touch. Keep up the great filmmaking!
-Nancy