The renowned filmmaker Patricio Guzmán, author of classics such as La Batalla de Chile, will soon visit Chile, on the occasion of the plebiscite of October 25.
The director will record the process and stay several weeks to film the following events. It is a step that he considers logical given the political trajectory of his filmography, centered on historical memory around events such as the military coup of 1973, the military dictatorship and the transition to democracy.
«What’s going to happen is extraordinary. Chile’s going to turn a page. It’s very interesting. After Pinochet’s regime is over, it is the first time Chile has reacted, as it reacted when Allende left (elected). A revolution, a profound change. A vast majority want to turn the page, and that’s very good for Chile, very good for Latin America. It’s great, it’s a lesson Chile is going to teach the world again,» he said.
«I go out in three weeks to Santiago, because I want to shoot, start another movie, with a film of about four, five weeks. I’m going to be there for the plebiscite and I want to be there for the process that goes ahead.»
This trip was based on events nearly a year ago.
«When the million-and-a-half large demonstration (October 25) occurred in the Plaza, my wife (producer Renate Sachse) immediately thought that a project had to be put together for what was going on,» she recalls.
«We already had a project going on for later, we had already written a script and modified it. It is logical that if you have done all your work based in Chile, be in Santiago when the plebiscite comes. For many years our journey has been quite established, we know where we’re going,» he says.
He also admitted that he never thought he was going to experience the end of the neoliberal process.
«I had no idea, I didn’t know what was going to happen, even though my characters sensed something. There was a secret hope in all Chileans. But I didn’t think the possibility of such radical change, unique in Latin America, was so close,» he says.
Although Guzman admits that the October 18 social outburst surprised him, his films were already announcing some of the tension in the country.
«I think artistic work sometimes gets ahead of events,» he says. «That’s what happens to writers, poets, filmmakers.»
«It is common to anticipate what is going to happen, because somehow in the present you can glimpse the future. And our work is very close to finding that path. It is surprising that the latest sequences of this film are nothing more than the preamble to what happened in reality. I was surprised, too. Sometimes you give this, sometimes you don’t. The prediction is much longer.»
The Range of Dreams
On September 26th the avant premier will be made online its latest documentary, La Cordillera de los sueños, tickets for this unique function, are available on the platform puntoticket.com.
Released last year at the Cannes Film Festival, where she was awarded the Golden Eye Award for Best Documentary, the film The Mountain Range of Dreams closes the trilogy that Patricio Guzmán initiated with Nostalgia of Light (2010) and continued with The Mother-of-Pearl Button (2015).
«I invite everyone to watch an entertaining, diverse documentary film with exciting characters, with an incredible mountain in front of us, and sometimes we don’t see, and an exceptional character who knows how to guess what Chile will be,» the filmmaker said.
The film features among its figures the cameraman and documentary filmmaker Pablo Salas, whose documentary films date back to the dictatorship.
«He’s a great character, hopefully Chileans will know him more. It is good to take his gaze to get back excited to conquer the future, for us and above all children.»
Chile, near and far
Although Guzman has lived in France for several years, Chile remains the main reason for his work.
«I live several thousand kilometers away, and yet Chile is still for me the main theme of my life, of my work. I can’t get out of Chile,» he says.
«It doesn’t matter where you live on the subject you’re dealing with. You can talk all your life about Antarctica and make books of ice and poles, and live in a city in the center of the earth. Your passions go far from where you are,» he says.
«The place where you are is secondary, in my opinion. I really like this country so close and so far away. I think ithis relationship is in mind. One becomes very clear by seeing Chile from afar. It is a country that blinds a lot, hypnotizes a lot, there is a constant turn around, that happens in all isolated countries, and also in lonely people. I like to live in this far and near situation in Chile.»
The landscapes of the country, such as the desert, the mountain range and Patagonia, have been the common thread of its latest trilogy.
«The mountain range, the south, the north, the Ocean are such important elements in Chile. I’m missing the sea, I don’t know if I’m going to make a movie about the sea,» he says.
«The mountain range is invisible, it is so close that one never sees it and passes by, we live without it. It’s like a great absentee from our reality. But he’s there, watching us, looking at everything that’s going on.»
With regard to the importance of the landscape, he adds:
«One when a documentary film begins does so fragmentably, with characters, situations, landscapes, memories, and you have to find an element that joins these materials in order to narrate something.»
«In this case I chose the mountain range because it is an arid, desert, un expressive wall in front of Santiago, but if you go to both ends it is wonderful, with volcanoes, etc. I used it as a curtain, a backdrop to tell my little story.»
As for his characters, Guzman likes to include artists, such as singers, painters and sculptors.
«They are people who have passed near me and I find them expressive to refer to the subject. But they are not always artists, in ‘Nostalgia of light’ there are astronomers, relatives of the disappeared, who are ordinary people of the peoples. In the south I also found a Kaweskar woman, an indigenous woman who lives on an island,» he says.
«Anyway choosing artists is good, because they have ease of speech, they are creative, they invent things around the subject. It’s very nice to work with plastic people or they’re writers,» he says.
Guzman also thanked the filmmaker Sebastián Lelio for his film in April last April.
«I admire Sebastian very much too, he’s a great filmmaker. He has the generosity to talk about other colleagues,» he said.
«Since my first film, which is The Battle of Chile, and before that it was called The First Year and which is now in restoration, fifty years have passed. You don’t get any illusions when you start. With the Battle of Chile it was very hard. And little by little the mirror in which Chilean reality is reflected and so do you. And that’s a very rare phenomenon that the years are producing. And you realize that what he does could serve other people on the way, and I love that,» he said.
«It’s very nice to make documentary films. You don’t make much from it, it’s hard to finish, you have to spend more than a year making a movie, it’s hard to distribute, but it’s a great cinema. It adheres to your being, it’s a way of life.»