Jan 1, 1970 at 12:00 am
The Exiles: Films After the Chilean Coup
With Rachael Rakes, Leo Goldsmith, Amalia Córdova, Jerónimo Rodríguez, José Miguel Palacios
Following the bloody coup that overthrew Salvador Allende’s government in 1973, several prominent Chilean artists and intellectuals fled the county, seeking amnesty in Europe and North America.
Among them were: Raúl Ruiz, Allende’s “Cinema Advisor” and maker of over 100 internationally renowned films; Marilú Mallet, an aspiring architect-turned-filmmaker who fled to Canada; and Patricio Guzmán, who spent the year leading up to the coup filming The Battle of Chile, his epic and indispensable document of Allende’s election and the violent counter-revolution that overthrew him.
The three films in this program showcase the work of these artists years after they left Chile. They explore the interminable struggles of exile, the difficultly of preserving memory in an oblivion of history, and reevaluations of identity in the absence of recognizable place.
This program is presented on the 38th anniversary of Pinochet’s coup, and in the wake of the large-scale rebellions of students and workers in Santiago. A panel discussion on Chilean films and recent political movements will follow the presentation.
Unfinished Diary by Marilú Mallet
55 min, 1986, 16mm
In this moving and structurally innovative docudrama, Chilean emigre Mallet struggles to make a film about her experience of profound isolation. Her English-speaking husband, a prominent filmmaker, criticizes her subjective approach to filmmaking; their young son, raised in Quebec, speaks only French. Interviews with Isabel Allende and other Chilean exiles reveal a deep bond in this powerful, resonant film about language and gender, exile and immigration. The displacements and disjunctions of exile have never been more poignantly conveyed. Mallet uses her domestic space as mirror of the self struggling to find a place to call home. A compelling, resolutely tentative exploration of female subjectivity. –Juliane Burton, UC SANTA CRUZ
Chile, Obstinate Memory by Patricio Guzmán
45 min, 1997
Guzmán visits with Chileans who experienced the coup first-hand (some of whom are seen in The Battle of Chile from 25 years ago) Survivors reminisce as they watch that film, recognizing lost comrades and recalling their courage, gaiety and love of life. Those who were not killed during the coup itself were crowded into the National Stadium in Santiago, where many were tortured, disappeared, and never seen again. Survivors talk about the terror that characterized the Pinochet regime until the dictator was finally obliged to relinquish power.
On the streets of Santiago a group of young people are seen marching and singing the Unidad Popular anthem from the time of Allende. Looks of uneasy surprise can be seen on the faces of passers-by. They have not heard this song in almost a quarter century. A quarter century of censorship and self-censorship, buried memories and controlled grief. In the end it is to students such as these that Guzmán shows The Battle of Chile. The surprising intensity of their reaction reveals an unquenchable thirst for truth about the past. Their confusion is palpable. Through them, the repressed feelings of an entire nation seem to find expression. They are the Chile of tomorrow. -ICARUS FILMS
Letter from A Filmmaker, or, The Return of a Library Lover by Raúl Ruiz
12 min, 1983
Ruiz, rediscovering the things of his past in Chile ten years after the Coup, regards them now with the eyes of another world. This other world is cinema, the mechanical gaze of a Super 8 camera. This eye sees very deeply, even beyond reality and brute memory. Letter from a Filmmaker is the documentary version of a Ruizian fiction: a survivor returns to the land of the dead and discovers his doubles and phantom friends. –Charles Tesson, ROUGE