The slaughterhouse scene in La Hora de los Hornos troubled me. Getino and Solanas show viewers a typical day at the slaughter house. The scene is shot as if you’re a fly on the wall seeing everything. Watching the cows being corralled into “death pens,”  their heads being pounded with hammers and getting skinned and gutted was horrifying. I was extremely uncomfortable and closed my eyes at times because I didn’t want to acknowledge what was happening. I didn’t want to face the reality of America’s meat industry. What was clever about this scene is that video advertisements were interspersed between shots of the slaughter house. Getino and Solanas put together the scene this way to emphasize how we are disconnected from the true reality of what is going on around us. In a grocery store we don’t think about the chicken that was kept in a cage all its life when looking at a package of chicken breast, or the farmworker who isn’t getting paid enough when buying a basket of strawberries. All we see is a piece of protein perfect for a barbecue or the red juicy berry that will tickle our tastebuds with our morning cereal. We forget to think about the whole story of products from origin to store shelf. Advertisements make us more unmindful. They encourage us to forget the truth about how commodities are made and even romanticize products, making us associate them with fake realities. The slaughterhouse scene made me think of some creative and compelling World Wide Fund for Nature advertisements (see below). They do almost exactly what Getino and Solanas did in La Hora de los Hornos. They reveal the truth behind environmental issues. However, they do so by using clever imagery. This is different than Getino and Solanas showing viewers exactly what they would see if they entered the slaughterhouse themselves. What makes the WWF advertisements so impactful is that they bring environmental issues into society. For example, the advertisement that asks viewers to donate to help save the Maul’s dolphins from net fishing uses the schoolyard fence to represent a fishing net. By bringing the environmental issue into the built environment, people are able to understand and relate to the issue. Even though WWF advertisements and the slaughterhouse scene in La Hora de los Hornos differ in their approach to expose reality, they both cause viewers to be mindful about what is going on in the world around them.

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2 responses »

  1. zainjazara says:

    I think the WWF does an excellent job of advertising against netting, deforestation, and the like, but it’s interesting that you use the WWF to draw a comparison since I vaguely remember the WWF being called out as corrupt in our class. I did some very shallow research on my own and found that the WWF has had several accusations of corruption (for example, check out this link that exposes WWF corruption during a project concerning deforestation in Tanzania: http://www.trust.org/item/?map=corruption-allegations-hit-wwf-programmes-in-tanzania). The movie attempts to expose corrupt facets of our life, such as the consumer cycle, and it tries to awaken the masses. However, what happens when the very institutions put in place to prevent such corruption are corrupt themselves?

  2. sonyajendoubi says:

    I think Zain’s question is really pertinent and leads us to another, “do the ends justify the means?” If the WWF is making an impact and pushing us to think more critically is it okay that they are corrupt? Can we let certain things slide if their overarching goal is good? I haven’t made up my mind yet, but I do think it’s an interesting thought to ponder.

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