Argentina’s Gerardo Vallejo, director and writer of “Martin Fierro, ave solitaria,” died Feb. 6 in Buenos Aires of lung cancer. He was 65.
Vallejo began his career in the 1960s with hard-hitting documentaries like “El camino hacia la muerte del viejo Reales,” about the hardships of sugarcane laborers in his native Tucuman.
He later helped form the Liberation Cinema Group with directors Fernando “Pino” Solanas (“El viaje”) and Octavio Getino (“El familiar”), working with them as assistant director on “La hora de los hornos,” a docu about neo-colonialism and violence in Latin America. They revolutionized Argentine filmmaking in the 1970s, bringing politics and social conscience to films.
In 1975, the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance, a far-right death squad known as the Triple A, blew up his parents’ home. He left in exile to Panama and Spain, returning after the fall of Argentina’s 1976-82 military dictatorship to direct “El rigor del destino” and “Con el alma.”
It was during his exile that Vallejo began his “Martin Fierro” project, based an epic poem by Jose Hernandez about a gaucho drafted to fight for Argentina during its 1850s desert conquest against native Indians. It was released last year in Argentina.