#4: Chilean Exile Films
This is Film! 2023 #4: Chilean Exile Films
For the fourth session of This is Film! we invite José Miguel Palacios to talk about Chilean exile cinema, a corpus of more than two hundred films made all over the world by Chilean directors in exile.
After the 1973 military coup, Chilean filmmakers went into exile. Throughout Europe and the Americas, they made over two hundred films between 1973 and 1990. Most prints remain “in exile”, scattered in different kinds of archives throughout the world. What are the challenges that exile cinemas raise for archives? Introducing two collaborative projects between Cineteca Nacional de Chile and European archives like the Swedish Film Institute and Eye Filmmuseum, the lecture discusses how questions of repatriation and return invite us to redress the asymmetries that sustain the archival infrastructure of world cinema.
Introduction by Giovanna Fossati (Chief Curator at Eye and Professor of Film Heritage at the University of Amsterdam). Discussion moderated by Asli Özgen-Havekotte (University of Amsterdam) and Q&A in collaboration with the Master students of the This is Film! class at the University of Amsterdam.
José Miguel Palacios is Assistant Professor in the Department of Film and Electronic Arts at California State University Long Beach. His research topics include transnational film and media, radical screen cultures, film archives, documentary, and Chilean cinema. He is currently writing a book titled Cinema Solidarity: A Transnational History of Chilean Exile Film & Video. His work has appeared in journals such as Screen, The Moving Image, Jump Cut, [in] Transition, and Archivos de la Filmoteca, as well as in various edited collections including Cinematic Homecomings (Bloomsbury, 2015) and New Documentaries in Latin America (Palgrave, 2014). He received his Ph.D. from New York University’s Department of Cinema Studies in 2017.
Pinochet: fascista, asesino, traidor, agente del imperialismo (Pinochet: Fascist, Murderer, Traitor, Agent of Imperialism) (Sergio Castilla, SE 1974, 5')
A few months after the coup and exile in Sweden, Sergio Castilla began working on a couple of brief pieces produced by the Swedish Film Institute and meant to be exhibited on television. Using children’s drawings and a famous photograph of Pinochet with sunglasses, Castilla crafted a short animation that achieved its goal, according to him, just by virtue of appearing in the TV guide.
Raw Footage of September 11, 1973 (Leonardo de la Barra, CL 1973, 10')
The day of the coup is visually tied to the famous images of the bombardment of the Presidential Palace, captured by the cameramen working for East German duo Heynowski & Scheumann. Part of Eye’s archival holdings and shot on 16mm by Leonardo de la Barra, the raw footage presented here is altogether different and offers a counterpoint to the spectacular violence of the bombardment, providing a broader look at the events of the day. This is the first public screening of the images captured by de la Barra, who would later live in exile in France and Belgium.
Quisiera, quisiera tener un hijo (I Wish, I Wish I Had a Son) (Sergio Castilla, SE 1974, 9')
This short also uses children’s illustrations to sustain its visual narrative. In this case, it is a girl who speaks throughout the film, informing us at the beginning that we are seeing “drawings made by children who witnessed the 1973 coup.” Several devices mark these drawings with dramatic and symbolic force: sound effects, inflections of the voice that accentuate keywords, rapid and shaky camera pans, and repetitions. The film ends with a call for solidarity and a message of hope.
Färg mot fascisme! (Color Against Fascism!) (Leonardo Céspedes, Peter Lund & Kaj Mattson, SE 1978, 22')
The film documents an exhibition that was organized by the Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, and which took place in Stockholm’s Moderna Museet in March and April 1978. One of the highlights was the creation of a collective mural in which renowned Chilean artist José Balmes participated together with a group of Swedish artists.
This is Film! 2023
This is Film! Film Heritage in Practice is an annual public lecture series devoted to notable projects in the fields of film restoration and film heritage, with international guest speakers and film screenings.
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