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Review 'An Honest Look': Eduardo Longoni, The Voice of History Captured in Images

"The Right of Photography to Express Opinion"

Few professions allow for as much eloquence as photography. Few professions can immortalize crucial moments in history. Few can freeze unique, unrepeatable, perhaps trivial moments in time and give value to the anonymous.

This film commemorates the trajectory of one of Argentina's most prominent photographers and his role in the construction of the Historical Memory of a nation.

For a little over 40 years, Eduardo Longoni has practiced the profession and demonstrated its power, capturing from the streets, in unpredictable protests, brutal moments of the dictatorship in Argentina. His lens has become an instrument of denunciation and also an act of resistance. After a fall, the artist feels that it's time to leave the asphalt behind. This leads to the creation of a photographic exhibition ("An Honest Look") and a photographic installation ("La máquina de desaparecer"), which recount a part of his work focused on political violence and human rights.

In this documentary, we witness the process of creation, development, and launch of that installation. We also get a retrospective of his career where, especially for the international audience, we discover that he is the author of renowned photographs like "The Hand of God," the only snapshot capturing the moment when Maradona scores a goal with his hand in the match against England in the late eighties, or the one featuring two music legends united – Mercedes Sosa leaning on the shoulder of Charly García in the nineties for a report. His work during the dictatorship turned photographs like those of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo or the attack on La Tablada, or the impassive faces of a handful of soldiers, into icons of resistance and symbols of repression.

This journey through his work is accompanied by the opportunity to learn about his private life – from his childhood in Mar del Plata and the unfulfilled desires to become a priest or a soccer player, recounted by Longoni himself. It is through the artist's own narration that we become acquainted with his life and memories, as he visits family and friends, providing an excuse to tell the story of how chance played a role in his decision to become a photographer, his little joy in exposing the horrors of a dictatorship from the streets, and understanding the significance of his work. Throughout the documentary, Longoni appears as a man of immense simplicity, sharing profound thoughts that reveal his sensitivity, humanity, and, of course, his passion for photography.

One of the most insightful moments of "An Honest Look" occurs in a conversation between Longoni and visual artist Eduardo Stupía, where his colleague acknowledges his crucial role in the history of his country and analyzes his significant contributions to the realm of aesthetics. "The necessary is more essential than the pleasurable," he said. This statement encapsulates the role that Longoni was destined to assume in a unique and tumultuous moment in Argentina – a role driven by necessity, perhaps due to the circumstances that led him to practice photojournalism of denunciation.

His work, compiled in this documentary (a co-production between Argentina and Colombia) skillfully directed by Roberto Persano and Santiago Nacif, goes beyond all that photography is typically recognized for. It manages to break the barriers of silence, of the merely symbolic, in order to unveil and expose the face of state crimes. The film is currently showing in theaters in Colombia.

Technical Information

Image Credits: Eduardo Longoni.

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