Don’t be fooled by the deep and meaningful title, I haven’t a clue where I’m going with this but then, this is why you have come back to my blog on the subject of Fierro, which is an odd interest from someone given this is based on an Argentinian character and being an American reader, you may not even know where Argentina is (Europe, by the way).
So, as a recap of what the story, poem and film is about, set in the 1800s, a rebellious gaucho, which is a cowboy, couldn’t fit into the societies around him during a time that Argentina was going through political change. He endured the worst of the worst from all sides of society. It gives readers more than a glimpse of the times back then. What started as a real event, became a 2,500+ word poem and then a cult film (perhaps not as much as blackjack became a cult game but almost).
So why the character of a gaucho to become the focal point of this retrospective and damning view of Argentina in the 1800s? And what drove him to gamble with his life and his beliefs? Well, if we use the medium of film to help us analyze this because I am in no way willing to dismantle the mind of a man in a staggeringly large poem, nope, not a fan of reading.
In the film, there is a hefty amount of politics at play here, for a mere cowboy only the morals of what is right and wrong are known, but even then this is hazy in a time when it was a case of surviving by any means how. The conflict of Martin Fierro’s wisdom seems to be highlighted by the fact that he gambles. The irony that you have a system where the odds are stacked against you and he sees this as a way out. This is, of course, pure cinema metaphor that died of death long ago, but seeing this film was made in the 60’s we can hail this as a masterstroke.
Gambling is seen as Fierro’s vice, without it he has nothing, with it he has nothing. This is something used in cinema since celluloid was invented. The poem doesn’t touch on the gambling aspects, this is poetry and it’s hard to rhyme words like gamble: ramble, bramble, shamble, okay, there are some words, what about poker? Choker, smoker, broker and mediocre, okay a few words there too, but hey, I didn’t write it so don’t judge me (and we know a lot of south african stories about gambling which are way worst).
Gambling is definition of failure when the chips are down nothing is going to go your way. But I’m sure the more you analyze, there is also room for argument that Fierro as a character was more than the archetypal cowboy and that he was a mix of everyone, the burden of which rested solely on his shoulders like the titan Atlas. Within this, you can begin to pick out a thousand things, maybe not immediately noticeable but let’s cut this short in saying there was a bit of you and me in Fierro.