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(1939, d. Mario Soffici)


Feature 01

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Feature 02

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Restoration Credits

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project in association with the Museo del Cine Pablo Ducrós Hicken with elements provided by the Cinémathèque française and the Národní filmový archiv. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.


PRISIONEROS DE LA TIERRA is considered one of the greatest films ever made in Argentina. Director Mario Soffici adapted four different short stories by Horacio Quiroga, the Uruguayan playwright, poet, and author, to craft a powerful and emotional film that examines issues of social justice through its myriad of characters, all human and all flawed. Set in the yerba mate plantations of northern Argentina, the film shows the harsh working conditions of the Guaraní Indians against the beautiful natural landscapes, which highlights the ongoing conflict between the upper and lower classes. Soffici effortlessly balances his social justice narrative with more melodramatic elements of love, betrayal, and alcoholism, all filmed in dramatic black-and-white, to create a rich and honest portrait of life's many struggles. In addition to its cinematic achievements, the film is also an important record of the Guaraní dialect, which is now virtually lost.   

Restoration Details

PRISIONEROS DE LA TIERRA was restored using the best existing elements: a first generation 35mm positive print held at La Cinémathèque française and a recently rediscovered third generation 35mm positive print preserved by the Národní filmový archiv. For its overall completeness and photographic quality, the first generation 35mm positive print was used to restore the image, while the third generation 35mm positive print was the primary source for sound restoration.

A 16mm dupe negative, provided by the Museo del Cine, has also been studied and compared as a reference. Color grading was supervised by Paula Félix-Didier, director of the Museo del Cine Pablo
Ducrós Hicken.

Running time: 86 minutes

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About The Film Foundation Restoration Screening Room

The Film Foundation (TFF), in partnership with DelphiQuest and Oracle Corporation, has created a virtual space to showcase its preservation/restoration program. Films restored with TFF support will be made available on the second Monday of each month, free of charge, for audiences to discover. The programming will feature a diverse range of restorations, from classics to avant-garde, independent, documentary and short films, from every era, genre, and region of the world. The monthly screenings will be presented through the DelphiQuest platform, available through your web browser, and will be accompanied by supplemental materials that focus on the restoration process and celebrate the collaborative nature of film preservation by highlighting the work of the foundation’s archive and studio partners. The Film Foundation Restoration Screening Room is supported by Oracle Corporation, which provides cloud storage and infrastructure capabilities. Learn more about the work of The Film Foundation.