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Oct 7, 2023 at 12:00 pm

Artistic Differences:

This program is part of Artistic Differences with DocLisboa

ARTISTIC DIFFERENCES is back this October to present WHAT IS A FILM?,  a focus on Notes for a Film, the latest film by the Chilean master Ignacio Agüero!

Notes for a film reclaims cinema as a field of possibilities. The world persists far beyond its images, and the visible is a matter of both attention and invention.

Having as a starting point the written memoir by the young Belgian engineer Gustave Verniory, who went to Araucanía in Chile in the end of the 19th Century to build the railway, Agüero asks for the impossible: how can I see what he saw?

Taking this instance of radical invisibility, the film refuses to fill the absence (of images, of that gaze, of Verniory’s intimate experiences) with new images. Instead, it builds a cinematic territory where seeing is standing in the now, side by side with the invisible, with a past that comes as possible fragments of long-gone continuities.

Through an astonishing work of minimalism where fiction draws the abysses from which reality erupts, the past and the present speak to each other and build a polyhedric testimony — of a territory, a people, and a young man confronting his illusions and limitations.

If the ultimate question of cinema is how to see, this film responds with a multitude of other possible questions — placing us, the viewers, in the center of the game, and the dialectics of the invisible as a liberating force for our present.

We invite our engaged and curious international community of film lovers for another virtual cinema club convening on OCT 7! We can’t wait to come together and contend with Agüero’s ways of seeing with you.


We’re thrilled to come together for a an online convening, a structured dialogue around this incredible film! Like a kind of grassroots book club, but for documentary art, it’s all about sparking discussion and deeper investigation, through reading, listening and responding in small, self-organized groups that together form a larger collective experience.

You will get access to the film program through our Membership Hub a few days in advance. Sign up now and stay tuned in your inbox for further instructions!


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.

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Oct 7, 2023
12:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
QUEENS, NY 11385 United States
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