My Imaginary Country
Patricio Guzmán / CL, FR, 2022 / 85 min.
In October 2019, 1.5 million Chileans took to the streets to fight for a more just society. Legendary filmmaker Patricio Guzmán was there to see a completion of the Chilean freedom struggle of his youth.
“If you want to film a fire, you must be ready in the place where the first flame will appear,” Patricio Guzmán once learned from film essayist Chris Marker. Guzmán missed that first flame when mass protests erupted in Santiago in October 2019. But after that, this legendary Chilean filmmaker (IDFA’s guest of honor in 2019) missed nothing, just as in 1973 when he took to the streets to document the resistance against Pinochet’s coup d’état.
In 2019, the main square of Santiago and the streets around it were packed with more than 1.5 million protesters—captured by Guzmán in impressive drone footage. The crowds called for more democracy, a more just society, better education and healthcare, plus a new constitution.
In addition to the dynamic street scenes and his own philosophical commentary, Guzmán constructs his film from interviews with activists, rioters, experts and artists—all women. One of them, a writer, describes the protests aptly: “This was not an outburst but a relief.”
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