Iván Osnovikoff & Bettina Perut – Surire (2015)

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Synopsis
While researching locations for their 2009 film Noticias, documentary filmmakers Bettina Perut and Ivan Osnovikoff stumbled upon Salar de Surire, a salt flat in the Chilean Andes at an altitude of 4,000 meters (13,000 feet). “It was like being on the moon,” they explained in an interview. The vast, barren landscape and the thin mountain air left them feeling intensely alienated, and in Surire they make that sensation palpable. The long observational shots capture a desolate landscape in which human life at first seems to play only a marginal role. But the camera challenges this first impression, focusing on the wealth of flora and fauna in the foreground, while off in the distance a colorful convoy of transporter trucks takes away the salt – which, despite Salar de Surire’s protected status, is mined with the approval of the authorities. Perut and Osnovikoff document this disappearing world using their characteristic and highly articulate visual idiom, particularly recognizable for its grand wide shots and the pin-sharp extreme close-ups. The last original inhabitants of the region look on in resignation from a distance at the exploitation of their habitat. Meanwhile, they tend to their llamas, subject the dog to a risky-looking trim and prepare for a trip into town. Continue reading

Jerónimo Rodríguez – Rastreador de estatuas (2015)

When Jorge, a Chilean filmmaker living in New York, decides to seek a statue of a Portuguese neurologist in a park in Chile, a curious investigation begins in the streets of Santiago, Brooklyn and Lisbon, but also through the history of his native country and his own family memory – for which he tries to fi ll in the gaps. And what if the statue were really a bust? Or just a plaque? What if, instead of being in Chile, it were in Lisbon? And what if the film were really about something else? Because, from this starting point in anecdotal appearance, Jeronimo Rodriguez creates a refl ection on memory and disappearance – of people, places and things. Far from being a theoretical object, his character and alter ego is subjected to a real memorial piece of work, an investigation of the nether regions of his brain – which is lucky because his father was a neurosurgeon – which takes him to Patagonia, to see football matches dating back to the dictatorship, and leads to thoughts about Raoul Ruiz. The correspondences are forged, from anecdote to anecdote and from place to place, while throughout all the comings and goings, digressions, coincidences, reminiscences and false-tracks, one can measure the void left by the person who has died or soon will. (CG)
Synopsis taken from FIDMarseille. Continue reading

Patricio Guzmán – El Botón de Nácar AKA The Pearl Button (2015)

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Synopsis
The ocean contains the history of all humanity. The sea holds all the voices of the earth and those that come from outer space. Water receives impetus from the stars and transmits it to living creatures. Water, the longest border in Chile, also holds the secret of two mysterious buttons which were found on its ocean floor. Chile, with its 2,670 miles of coastline and the largest archipelago in the world, presents a supernatural landscape. In it are volcanoes, mountains and glaciers. In it are the voices of the Patagonian Indigenous people, the first English sailors and also those of its political prisoners. Some say that water has memory. This film shows that it also has a voice. Continue reading

Shawn Garry – Desierto sur aka South Desert (2008)

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Quote:
Sofia is a young Spanish girl who loses her mother to an illness. An enigmatic letter falls into her hands, one that her mother sent to Chile when she was alive. The letter is returned by the post office when the recipient could not be found. The content of the letter raises stirring questions in Sofia, who then embarks on an adventure filled journey south of the world. The destination: An unknown and remote town called “Desierto Sur”. Continue reading

Patricio Guzmán – Chile, la memoria obstinada AKA Chile, the Obstinate Memory (1997)

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(Chicago reader capsule ) :
“Released in three parts, Patricio Guzman’s epic documentary The Battle of Chile (1975-’79) captured such critical events as the bombing of the presidential palace during the 1973 military coup, but it wasn’t screened in Chile until the 1990s. That belated premiere inspired Guzman to make this 1997 documentary, in which clips from the earlier film are threaded among interviews and powerful sequences showing the reactions of Chilean viewers. Whereas The Battle of Chile uses voice-over narration to summarize its on-the-spot footage, manipulated only minimally by editing, Chile, Obstinate Memory is more expansive. Without ignoring or hyperbolizing the way politics affects our sense of the past, it presents many galvanizing moments; at one point a viewer who was a child during the coup shamefacedly recalls his pleasure at being allowed to stay home from school” Continue reading