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it-happened-in-hualfin

Jorge Preloran’s and Reymundo Gleyzer’s 1965 film It Happened in Hualfin is a significant step ahead from the latter’s film of the previous year La Tierra Quema. This 3-part film follows the rural poverty of 3 people, all related, as they struggle to survive in this small town in the Argentine desert not far from the Chile and Bolivia borders. Far away from the happening life of Buenos Aires was deep, horrifying poverty. One part tells of an older man who went away to the sugar harvests as a young man. Unlike many, he came back home, but eventually went blind and is dependent upon others for survival. The second part follows an elderly potter, the first man’s sister-in-law, who has lost most of her family to migration to Buenos Aires, but continues to survive making her pots. The third, the old man’s daughter, is trying to keep things going as a weaver, but it’s tough. Her husband disappeared five years earlier after going to work elsewhere, leaving her with the children. She hopes he will come back and even turns down a proposal from another man (no morally compromised working class here!). But her grown children have all gone to Buenos Aires and she figures her last one will too. She hopes to weave nice enough cloth from llama wool to buy some sheep of her own and rise in the world. But when she goes to sell it, the store won’t give her enough and notes that she is far in debt to them anyway. Like the rest of the rural poor, there’s nowhere for them to go if they want to stay on the land and in their rural communities. As a film, this the most effective of the 3 Gleyzer films I’ve seen. Coherent and powerful, if not brilliant.

7/10

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