“One by one, the secrets of the sky began to fall upon us like translucent rain.”
A remarkable documentary from Chile which juxtaposes three different threads of the country’s history - pre-Columbian shepherds, the struggle of people exposing the brutality of the Pinochet regime, and astronomy in the Atacama desert. Each of the stories has a haunting tone and each presented with the kind of passion for the material and search for truth you’ll find in a Herzog or Errol Morris documentary.
In addition, the interwoven stories are beautifully shot by Patricio Guzmán, who also also directed the excellent Allende documentary from 2004.
Out of Chile comes the best relationship film I’ve seen in a very long time. A man returns home to the friends of his youth after ten years of living overseas as a travel writer. Over the course of a single night the emotions of the past are brought to the surface with painful realism. The acting is superb and convincing, but the writing is where this film shines - it’s sublime and mature, giving the viewer only what they need and holding back on the histrionics. Winner of the Goya for Best Spanish Language Foreign Film.
Violeta (2011). Dir.: Andrés Wood.
Established Chilean director Andrés Wood takes on the subject of one of Chile’s most loved and respected artists and folklorists, Violeta Parra, and delivers the country’s best film since his powerful 2004 historic epic, Machuca. It’s beautifully made with unsettling honesty. You can never tell the complete story with a film like this, and Wood has instead opted to structure the film around a candid TV interview Parra gave in 1962. Though it is told in non-linear style, vignettes of her life are interwoven with her music and bound together using recurring motifs. It works and the result was been given the nod as Chile’s official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film - if successful, it will be their first nomination in the award’s history.
Violeta del Carmen Parra Sandoval (4 October 1917 – 5 February 1967) was a notable Chilean composer, songwriter, folklorist, ethnomusicologist and visual artist. She set the basis for “Chilean’ New Song”, La Nueva Canción chilena, a renewal and a reinvention of Chilean folk music which would absorb and extend its influence far beyond Chile. - Wikipedia
Interested in other Chilean films? Check out my review archive.