Chris Kennedy

“ORG.” April 23, 2019

dir. Fernando Birri | Italy 1967–1978 | 177 min. Digital

Restored Digital Presentation!

The recent digital restoration of Fernando Birri’s ORG — which was made over the course of a dozen years while Birri was in exile in Italy, and shelved following its 1979 Venice debut — by the Arsenal Institute for Film and VideoArt in Berlin returned a largely unknown work of the political avant-garde into public view. Eschewing the neorealist documentary style that had made Birri’s work so influential in his native Argentina and Latin America, ORG is an explosion of psychedelia that employs over 26,000 edits and 700 audio tracks over the course of its three-hour running time. Based on an Indian myth, endowed with the sexual energy of Wilhelm Reich, and annotated by interviews with Godard and Fernando Solanas, the film follows an interracial love triangle (enacted by Isaak Twen Obu, Lidija Juraçik, and spaghetti-western star Terence Hill) whose competitive desire is amplified when the men trade heads. While the film invokes Birri’s political disillusionment (critic Ela Bittencourt calls it “a virulent critique of late capitalism and a mournful paean to the demoralized Left”), by the end it becomes an emancipatory, polyamorous romp that transcends bitterness through intensity and excess.