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Argentina: Hope in Hard Times

The Argentine people, in the face of economic collapse, provide a hopeful example for the rest of us.

A printer-friendly version of this page 74 minutes
Directed by Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young
Produced by Moving Images Video Project

"A wonderfully effective education piece on issues relating to the global economy." Dr. David Korten, President, The People-Centered Development Forum
"Que se vayan todos!" Chants echo off the skyscrapers, burst through the plazas, and clamor down the streets of Buenos Aires. "Throw them all out!" shout legions of frustrated Argentine housewives, students and lawyers, weaving their way through the city one summer evening, banging on pots and pans.

What would you do if you lost your job, they closed the banks so you couldn't access your savings, and the government seemed unable to help? In Argentina they stormed supermarkets for food; the police gunned down 30 people in just one day. But what happened next was truly extraordinary.

ARGENTINA - HOPE IN HARD TIMES joins in the processions and protests, attends street-corner neighborhood assemblies, visits workers' cooperatives and urban gardens, taking a close-up look at the ways in which Argentines are picking up the pieces of their devastated economy and creating new possibilities for the future. A spare narrative, informal interview settings, and candid street scenes allow the pervasive strength, humor, and resilience of the Argentine people to tell these tales. These are their inspiring stories - of a failed economy and distrusted politicians, of heartache and hard times, of a resurgence of grassroots democracy and the spirit of community - told in resonant detail.

Other films by Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young are Shift Change, We Are Not Ghosts, Good Food, Argentina: Turning Around, Net Loss, Another World is Possible, Not for Sale, Gene Blues, Islas Hermanas and Risky Business.

Grade Level: 9-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2005     Copyright Date: 2004
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-062-6     VHS ISBN: 1-59458-061-8

"ARGENTINA: HOPE IN HARD TIMES is an eloquent and powerful film about a country and a situation few Americans know much about. It is not only educational but inspirational in its depiction of a people fighting for justice under what seem impossible circumstances. I hope it will be widely seen in the United States."
Howard Zinn, Author, A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present, Terrorism and War

"A wonderfully effective education piece on issues relating to the global economy and the real consequences of IMF/World Bank policies...the documentary illustrates in a beautiful and powerful way the potential that lies within ordinary people to truly care for one another and to self-organize their resources, communities, and enterprises to the benefit of all if presented with the need and the opportunity."
Dr. David Korten, President, The People-Centered Development Forum

"A great resource for classroom use...depicts in detail the effects of globalization, neoliberal economics, and other broad trends on everyday people's experience."
Angelina Godoy, Acting Chair of Latin American Studies, The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies

"For anyone who has ever felt despair or pessimism in the face of the global economy, ARGENTINA - HOPE IN HARD TIMES is a powerful and inspiring antidote. A cogent critique of neoliberalism and a compelling alternative. Perfect for classroom use in economics, sociology and political science. "
Juliet Schor, Professor of Sociology, Boston College

"This film is a powerful reminder of the fragility of our global economy and the possibilities for rekindling the human spirit."
George Cheney, Professor and Coordinator, Doctoral Education in Communication and Information, Associate Investigator, Ohio Employee Ownership Center, Kent State University

"The documentary's timeliness is matched both by the powerful scenes it shows and by its clear political message: Even in difficult times there is hope of a better world."
Arturo Santa-Cruz, Political Science Professor, University of Guadalajara, Mexico

"[Argentina] contains precise and complete information... viewpoints are well established from the beginning and reinforced during the film. The picture and sound qualities are very good, and superb background music by well known musicians adds to the emotional impact... It would be most suitable for academic programs in Latin American studies, globalization, ethics, economics, international relations, and sociology."
Cindy Badilla-Melendez, Educational Media Reviews Online

"Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young's film is an important record of this inspiring episode in the global struggle against corporate domination."
Utne Reader

"An exciting look at this social movement in its heyday. [Argentina] takes an exhaustive, panoramic shot of Argentine activism in 2002, capturing the grassroots power people felt as they transformed the broken pieces of their country into new opportunities. This is the best documentary yet on what was a pivotal moment in Argentina's history and should be required viewing for anyone who is interested in working for a better world."
Benjamin Dangl, Toward Freedom, on ZNet

"Argentina: Hope in Hard Times...reveals how ordinary people in dire circumstances can overcome incredible challenges by working together for common goals... Whereas other documentaries such as Naomi Klein's The Take focus on democratically-controlled businesses in Argentina, Hope In Hard Times embraces a much broader perspective on the Argentine free market tragedy. The documentary not only examines how Argentines have adapted their lifestyles to a crumbling economic system, but asks larger questions about human nature and the possibilities people have of building a different kind of economy and a new society... Viewers might expect the documentary to deal with the politicians, IMF officials and other elites who were largely responsible for the crisis. It refuses to do so, and it is the film's interaction with ordinary Argentines that is most stimulating... Hope in Hard Times should be required viewing for economics professors and government leaders who still have faith in the neo-liberal policies of the IMF and the World Bank... it paints a very hopeful picture and reveals the huge potential for billions of people throughout the Global South to overcome even the most spectacular failures of free market capitalism."
Sean Cain, The Dominion

"[Argentina] conveys an...important image of a grassroots spirit of mutual cooperation that focuses on building the local economy rather than expanding international debt and trade. This is an alternative economic model that can heal a society suffering from the harms of neoliberalism... Clearly those interested in Latin America and Argentina will find the film to be of interest. It is also valuable to those interested in globalization... But most of all, Argentina: Hope in Hard Times is a testament to the power of hope and joy in the face of seemingly overwhelming economic adversity."

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Links The producers' web site

Awards and Festivals
CINE Golden Eagle
Best Hope and Dreams Theme Film, Hope and Dreams Film Festival
Honorable Mention, Columbus International Film and Video Festival
Our Island, Our World Film Festival, Salt Spring Island, Canada
Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival
San Diego Latino Film Festival
Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival
Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival
Sin Fronteras Film Festival, University of New Mexico
Boston International Film Festival
Globians Film Festival - Potsdam
Festival del Movimiento de los Documentalistas - Buenos Aires
San Francisco World Film Festival
Festival Internacional de Cine y Derechos Humanos, Barcelona
DerHumALC International Human Rights Film & Video Festival, Buenos Aires
Festival Internacional Tres Continentes del Documental, Caracas
Cine Nuevo Latinoamericano Festival, Havana
Cine Las Americas, Austin
Hong Kong Social Movement Film Festival
Ellensburg Film Festival
Olafest, Orlando Latin American Film & Heritage Festival
Social Justice Film Festival, Seattle

Global Issues
International Studies
Latin American Studies
Sustainable Development
Urban Studies

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