Feb 5, 2017 at 6:00 pm
The Monument Hunter
A reception to honor and screen The Monument Hunter with Director Jerónimo Rodríguez.
Join us for a reception to honor the 2016 recipient of the Roberto Guerra Documentary Award, Jerónimo Rodríguez. The annual prize is given to a documentary filmmaker from Latin America or US-Latino based in New York to honor Roberto Guerra’s life and legacy in the field of Documentary.
This evening we will toast to Jerónimo Rodríguez, and screen one of his celebrated films, The Monument Hunter.
“Jerónimo Rodríguez’s debut feature The Monument Hunter explores intimacies of another kind altogether. Through subtle oscillations between Brooklyn and Santiago, the film’s narrator and first-person camera elegantly unravel the personal and the political, memory and history: of Chilean soccer, of the Unidad Popular, of the many near anonymous statues and memorials that populate urban landscapes. Along the way, observational images of contemporary landscapes— inscribed with the past yet constantly changing, gentrifying, or being erased—merge with borrowed ones from films by Joaquim Jordà, Hong Sangsoo, Raúl Ruiz, and Harry Smith, and a few internet videos. This experience of searching (in both physical and virtual spaces) gives the film an air of laconic mystery, evincing a certain cool melancholy for the smoothing out of geography, temporality, and experience.” —Leo Goldsmith, CINEMA SCOPE MAGAZINE
“A dizzying exploration of the relationship between history and memory, Jerónimo Rodríguez’s The Monument Hunter unfolds like a contemporary Chilean twist on the films of Chris Marker. Its subject is an unseen man named Jorge, a Santiago-born filmmaker who has since relocated to a studio apartment in Greenpoint. One afternoon, sleepless and desperate to decompress from his latest project, Jorge sees a documentary that revives a forgotten childhood memory of a statue his late father once showed him. Dislocated from his past and desperate to reconnect with the spirit of his old man, Jorge embarks on a quest to find a monument that may no longer exist (if it ever existed in the first place). Riding a constant drone of droll narration, Rodríguez’s temporally untethered cine-essay chronicles Jorge’s journey from Brooklyn to Chile; from clarity to the most cobwebbed corners of his mind (where memories of famous soccer matches compete for attention with the films of Raul Ruiz and Hong Sang-soo). We have no way of knowing if Jorge is real, or if he’s a tool that Rodríguez invented to leverage his way into the space between fact and fiction, but The Monument Hunter milks that ambiguity to illustrate how images and memories aren’t in competition with each other. On the contrary, Jorge’s story shows how images create memories, and Rodríguez’s film shows how memories create images.” — David Ehrlick, INDIEWIRE
The Monument Hunter
71 min., 2015, Chile-USA
There are many images in The Monument Hunter –thousands and thousands from everywhere in the world– but only one can sum it up perfectly: it’s the image of a sculpture, placed in front of the Neurosurgery Institute in Santiago de Chile, that features a human brain floating on the air and proudly guarded by two delicate hands. In a similar way, Jeronimo Rodriguez’s debut film sets itself to create a representation of the human computer, yet focusing on the software rather than the hardware. Hence, and through a narrative structure that resembles the working of old magical brains, his essay documentary exposes the whole intellectual process that comes into play since the moment the protagonist remembers a statue he once visited with his father, and then decides to search for it decades later. Like any good detective story, The Monument Hunter makes use of the story of a search to compose a parallel and ineffable story about personal memory and the passage of time.
Jeronimo Rodriguez is a Chilean American filmmaker. He directed the essay film ‘The Monument Hunter’ (FID Marseille International Competition 2015, Special Jury Prize at FICCI 2016). He also co-wrote Alejandro Fernandez Almendras’ feature ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ (Sundance Film Festival World Dramatic Competition and Berlin Film Festival 2016). He co-produced Matias Piñeiro’s ‘The Princess of France’ (Locarno Film Festival International Competition 2014). Last year, he co-curated ‘Tropical Uncanny: Latin American Tropes and Mythologies’, a film series presented by the Guggenheim Museum and Cinema Tropical. He also programmed Flaherty NYC Spring 2013, a non-fiction film series organized by The Robert Flaherty Seminar. Filmmaker Magazine recently named Rodriguez among the 25 New Faces of Independent Film.
About the Roberto Guerra Documentary Fund
Kathy Brew, Roberto Guerra’s long-time collaborator and wife established the Roberto Guerra Documentary Fund in 2015 to honor Roberto Guerra’s life and legacy in the field. Originally from Peru, Guerra came to New York as a young, aspiring filmmaker to meet the cinema verité pioneers. He was inspired to create a number of films while living in New York and Europe. He continued to shoot and produce through the last year of his life.
Kathy and UnionDocs as a fiscal sponsor have come together to honor the memory of Roberto by supporting and encouraging an emerging filmmaker in the creation of his or her documentary work. In the spirit of Roberto Guerra’s intuitive and sensitive eye, the Award aims to recognize a Latin American or US-Latino artist who is developing his or her own vision through innovative documentary art and at the same time responds to the issues of our times.