This article offers a reading of Lucrecia Martel’s film short Nueva Argirópolis (2010) in light of Domingo F. Sarmiento’s treatise Argirópolis (1850). Both Sarmiento’s text and Martel’s film address the question of landownership, river navigation, and the inequal distribution of territorial and national wealth. Nueva Argirópolis is one part of a cinematographic project that brought together twenty-five directors for the occasion of the bicentennial of the Argentine revolution. Martel’s eight-minute story takes as its point of departure the ideas of Sarmiento, one of the founders of the nation: through her fiction, she tells how original Argentine peoples adopted Sarmiento’s proposal. In speaking of her inspiration for the film, Martel refers to both her work and Sarmiento’s as bold texts that fall within the genre of science fiction. The present essay considers the reasons for the audacity of the proposals in both texts and, at the same time, why both were unsuccessful.

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