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Sep 21, 2023 at 8:00 pm

Archives for the Future:
Ignacio Agüero

Co-presented with Cinema Tropical & Chile 1973/2023

Doors 7:30p
Program 8:00p

352 Onderdonk Ave
Ridgewood, NY

Almost an exact decade after we screened Ignacio Agüero’s Under Construction in collaboration with José Miguel Palacios, we are moved to invite him, Elizabeth Ramírez-Soto and Agüero back to open up a new conversation on the occasion of the 50 year anniversary of the 1973 Chilean Coup that overthrew Salvador Allende and established dictatorship in Chile.

In 1985, during the military dictatorship and after two years of massive protests against the regime, several Chilean directors were making documentary and fiction films. Celebrated documentarian Ignacio Agüero was one of them. He went out on the streets and to the locations and sets used by his fellow filmmakers, and asked them: Why are you making this film? Who is it for? With doses of humor and retaining hope in the face of palpable state violence, Como me da la gana (This is the Way I Like It) is a kaleidoscopic view on the powers of making films in times of political urgency.

Three years later, Agüero turned his attention to a different aspect of film culture—education—and to a figure who had been crucial in his own college years—the legendary Alicia Vega. Vega was much more than a university professor. For decades, she led film workshops for kids in the outskirts and poor neighborhoods of Santiago and other parts of Chile. Cien niños esperando un tren (One Hundred Children Waiting for a Train) (1988) documents one of the early workshops led by Vega, in which she teaches kids about cinema by making thaumatropes, watching early silent films, and going for the first time to a movie theater. Agüero’s documentary captures an indefatigable educator at work and, in the process, offers a moving portrait of children’s imagination towards the end of the dictatorship.

Programmed by José Miguel Palacios & Elizabeth Ramírez-Soto as part of Chile 1973/2023 and its “Archives for the Future” film series.

A special thank you to Icarus Films for their generous support of this program.

About the Series Chile 1973/2023 is a collaborative series of cultural activities that commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-backed military coup that toppled the socialist government of Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973. Taking place between September and December 2023 in different venues throughout NYC and Princeton, the events include a film and video series showcasing 50 titles as well as an art exhibition and several dialogues with renowned guest critics, filmmakers, writers, and artists coming from Chile and beyond. All activities are organized by a team of Chilean and international scholars committed to the project of reactivating the artistic, cinematic, and literary memory of the coup.


Want to dive deeper? Ignacio Agüero will be the study of our first Artistic Differences program this fall! We’re joining hands with Doc Lisboa to curate a line-up of Agüero’s films as well as a Study Group on October 7! If you’re interested in chatting with doc enthusiasts from all over the world about this remarkable filmmaker, sign up!


Como me da la gana (This is the Way I Like It) by Ignacio Agüero

28 mins, 1985

Director Ignacio Agüero interrupts the production of several films that are taking place in Chile during 1984 to ask the filmmakers what is the point of filming in Chile under the Pinochet dictatorship.

Cien niños esperando un tren (One Hundred Children Waiting for a Train) by Ignacio Agüero

57 mins, 1988

A documentary about a film workshop for children given by Alicia Vega, a teacher in a marginal quarter of Santiago, to kids whose common characteristic is that they have never been to the movies. One hundred years after the invention of cinema one hundred children go to the movies for the first time . They tell their experience in a film they shall make with drawings on paper frames.

Program Duration: 85 mins

Watch the conversation between Presenter1, Presenter2 and Presenter 3 on the UnionDocs’ Membership hub.


Born in 1952, in Santiago, Chile, Ignacio Agüero studied architecture and then began studying film the year after the military coup, when most filmmakers were going into exile. He made his first films under the Pinochet dictatorship, up to One Hundred Children Waiting for a Train (1988). During all those years he worked in advertising, until he co-directed the famous television campaign for the “No” vote in the referendum that defeated Pinochet in 1988. Agüero is most recognized as the author of nearly twenty documentaries. But he has also made telefilms and has been an actor in numerous films, including several by Raúl Ruiz. Retrospectives of his work have been held in various countries, such as Mexico, Spain, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, New Zealand, and France. He has received numerous awards, including the Grand Prix at FIDMarseille in 2016 and 2019 as well as best Latin American film at the Mar del Plata Film Festival in 2019. He holds the title of full Professor at the University of Chile. He also participates in the Zéro en Conduite organization doing film workshops for children. Agüero’s most recent work is Notes for a film (2022) and he is currently developing a new project titled Letters to my dead parents.

Elizabeth Ramírez-Soto is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University. Prior, she worked in the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University. She is the author of (Un)veiling Bodies: A Trajectory of Chilean Post-Dictatorship Documentary (Legenda, 2019) and coeditor of Nomadías: El cine de Marilú Mallet, Valeria Sarmiento y Angelina Vázquez (Metales Pesados, 2016). Her work has appeared in journals like Film Quarterly, Feminist Media Histories, and Jump Cut, as well as in numerous edited collections. Elizabeth is currently working on a book tentatively titled Transnational Experimental Television: The Global South on European Screens, for which she received a Summer Stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is cofounder of the Latin American Women’s Audiovisual Research Network, RAMA.

José Miguel Palacios is Assistant Professor in the Department of Film and Electronic Arts at California State University Long Beach. He is currently writing a book titled Cinema Solidarity: A Transnational History of Chilean Exile Film & Video (under contract with the University of California Press). His work has appeared in journals such as Film Quarterly, Screen, The Moving Image, Jump Cut, and [in] Transition, as well as in various edited collections including Raúl Ruiz: Potencias de lo múltiple (Metales Pesados, 2023) and Cinematic Homecomings (Bloomsbury, 2015). Prior to joining CSULB, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Art Department at Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Santiago, Chile (2018—2020).

From the Event

Presented With

Cinema Tropical

Chile 1973/2023

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Sep 21, 2023
8:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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