This obituary is part of a series on people who died in the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more about the others here.
BUENOS AIRES – When the Argentine Senate debated a law legalizing abortion in 2018, Fernando Solanas, then a senator, fervently advocated for it in part by declaring that sexual pleasure was a “basic human right.”
The bill was rejected but Mr. Solanas’ speech and his unusual argument quickly went viral in a nation bitterly divided by the question.
Mr Solanas was a constant voice on the left, often speaking out in favor of human rights and the environment, whether in politics or in his other life as an influential filmmaker whose films and documentaries marked a new era. era in Latin American cinema.
Mr. Solanas died on November 6 of complications from Covid-19 in Paris, Argentina’s foreign ministry said in a statement. He was 84 years old.
Fernando Ezequiel Solanas was born on February 16, 1936 in Olivos, province of Buenos Aires. His father, Héctor Solanas, was a surgeon and his mother, María Julia Zaldarriaga, was a painter and poet. Mr. Solanas briefly studied law before attending the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts.
He graduated in 1962 and started advertising.
This work enabled him to raise enough money to make “La Hora de los Hornos” (“Hour of the Furnaces”), a three-part documentary of four hours and 20 minutes that he produced with Octavio Getino on neocolonialism and politics violence. It came out in 1968.
Described as “a film of unique exploration of the soul of a nation” by Vincent Canby in the New York Times in 1971, the film caused a sensation abroad but was officially banned in Argentina, then under military rule. , although it was the subject of clandestine projections.
Mr. Solanas and Mr. Getino founded the influential Grupo Cine Liberación (The Liberation Film Group) and then coined the term “third cinema” to describe the burgeoning Latin American film movement that had a revolutionary current and sought to break free from production. standards set in Hollywood and Europe.
After receiving death threats, Mr. Solanas went into exile in Europe in 1976 when a brutal military dictatorship took hold.
Mr. Solanas returned to Argentina in 1983 and continued to film some of his best-known works, including “Sur” (“South”) for which he won the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1988.
In 1991, Mr. Solanas was shot in the legs six times; the perpetrators were never arrested, but he blamed the then president, Carlos Menem, whom he strongly opposed. Two years later, his official political career began when he won a seat in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Argentine Congress.
Mr. Solanas, known by the nickname “Pino”, returned to the cinema after his four-year tenure. He made another foray into politics a decade later with a presidential race in 2007, garnering less than 2% of the vote. He returned to the lower house of Congress in 2009 and was elected senator in 2013.
He was appointed Ambassador to UNESCO last year.
Mr. Solanas had a brief early marriage and later had two children with Beatriz Trixie Amuchastegui. In 1994, he married the Brazilian actress Ângela Correa, whom he met while directing his 1992 film “El Viaje”. (“The trip”).
She survives him with two children, Juan Diego Solanas and Victoria Eva Solanas; one stepson, Flexa D’Arco Iris Correa Lopes; one brother, Jorge; one sister, María Marta Solanas; and three grandchildren.