Fernando Ezequiel “Pino” Solanas (16 February 1936 – 6 November 2020) was an Argentine film director, screenwriter, and politician. His films include; La hora de los hornos (The Hour of the Furnaces) (1968), Tangos: el exilio de Gardel (1985), Sur (1988), El viaje (1992), La nube (1998) and Memoria del saqueo (2004), among many others. He was National Senator representing the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires for six years, from 2013 to 2019.
Solanas studied theatre, music, and law. In 1962, he directed his first short feature Seguir andando and in 1968 he covertly produced and directed his first long feature film La Hora de los Hornos, a documentary on neo-colonialism and violence in Latin America. The film won several international awards and was screened around the world. Solanas won the Grand Jury Prize and the Critics Award at the Venice Film Festival and the Prix de la mise en scène at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1999 he was the President of the Jury at the 21st Moscow International Film Festival. He was awarded a special Honorary Golden Bear at the 2004 Berlin Film Festival. He collaborated with tango composer and musician Ástor Piazzolla on the soundtracks for various movies.
Solanas was at the forefront of the Grupo Cine Liberación which shook Argentine cinema during the 1970s, developing its social conscience and political voice. He was active in the campaign to support Perón. Threatened by right-wing forces in the 1970s, one of his actors was assassinated and he himself was almost kidnapped.
Together with Octavio Getino, Solanas wrote the manifesto “Toward a Third Cinema”. The idea of a political Third Cinema, opposed to Hollywood cinema and European auteur cinema, inspired film makers in many so-called developing countries.
Solanas went into exile in Paris in 1976, only returning to Argentina with the arrival of democracy in 1983.
Solanas continued to make political films and was an outspoken critic of Carlos Menem, the Argentine President. Three days after such a public criticism, on 21 May 1991, Solanas was shot six times in his legs. Despite dealing with the attack and disability, Solanas became even more involved in politics and stood to be a Senator for Buenos Aires, receiving 7% of the vote in 1992. A year later he was elected a National Deputy for the Frente Grande list, although he left the party after a year.
Solanas continued to write and direct, including the 2005 film La Dignidad de los Nadies and the 2008 film La última estación. His son, Juan Solanas, is also a noted film director.
In October 2007, Solanas was a presidential candidate in the 2007 Argentine general election for the Authentic Socialist Party. He became the 5th most voted candidate, with 1.58% of the vote.
In 2009, Solanas was elected as a National Deputy for the city of Buenos Aires in the June 28th parliamentary elections, as his party Proyecto Sur attained the second largest political representation in the city by collecting 24.2% of the votes. In 2013, Solanas was elected National Senator, representing Buenos Aires City from 2013 to 2019.
In 2019, following the end of his term as senator, he was appointed as Argentina’s ambassador to UNESCO; he served in the position until his death in Paris, France, on 6 November 2020.