Fernando Birri is an Argentine film director and theorist who is best known for his contributions to the development of New Latin American Cinema. Born in Santa Fe, Argentina in 1925, Birri's career began in the 1950s when he co-founded the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome, Italy. After returning to Argentina, Birri wrote, directed and produced a number of revolutionary films that combined documentary and fiction techniques to address the social and political issues of the day.
Birri's most celebrated film is 1961's "The Inheritors," which follows a group of rural gauchos as they struggle to survive in an oppressive system. The film was praised for its realism and was screened at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the International Critics Prize. Birri is also known for his 1967 film "The Firemen's Ball," which is widely considered to be one of the best films of the New Latin American Cinema. The film follows a group of firefighters in a small Argentine town as they attempt to organize a ball that turns into a hilarious and chaotic mess.
Birri's films are known for their political and social commentary, as well as their innovative cinematography and editing techniques. He has been credited with helping to establish the New Latin American Cinema, a movement that sought to create a distinctly Latin American form of cinema. In addition to his film work, Birri wrote extensively about the theory and practice of cinema and was a professor of film at the University of Buenos Aires. He is also the founder of the International School of Cinema and Television in San Antonio de Los Baños, Cuba.
Throughout his career, Birri has been recognized for his contributions to film. In 2007, he was awarded the French Legion of Honor, and in 2009 he was honored with the Latin American Cinema Award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. In 2018, Birri was presented with the honorary Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Birri's influence on Latin American cinema is undeniable, and his films continue to inspire filmmakers around the world. He is remembered for his commitment to creating meaningful works of art that reflect the realities of life in Latin America.