The Gala section at FICValdivia will present new and anticipated productions by three important Chilean directors, three masters that will once again surprise audiences this year at Valdivia.
The programming line at the Valdivia International Film Festival has always tended to the dissemination of works by Chilean filmmakers taking their initial steps, while at the same time, lending support and being the showcase par excellence for consolidated national directors. This edition, the Gala section will give an account of the creative processes by three highly relevant Chilean filmmakers, Ignacio Agüero, José Luis Torres Leiva, and Alejandro Fernández Almendras.
Nunca subí el Provincia, by Ignacio Agüero
Nunca subí el Provincia is the latest documentary by the author of Cien Niños Esperando Un Tren. Agüero’s new piece came about based on discarded material for El Otro Día (2012), taking on many topics that have nurtured his work in the past, marked by an attentive observation of social processes defined by geographic and urban dimensions, as well as by the way in which the Coup d’état, and the Dictatorship have delineated the internal, and often silent, itinerary of his characters.
In this case, the center of the picture is in the epistolary narrative Agüero uses to weave his own family memories, his creative processes, and his intimate space, tracing a geographic itinerary that is both personal and collective, and which, in large measure, moves beyond the traditional boundaries of the documentary format, even for one that has worked it as freely as he has.
Nunca Subí el Provincia had its world premiere at the recent edition of FID Marseille, where it received the Grand Prize, a recognition Agüero also collected for his previous piece, Como me da la Gana II. The film will hold its Latin American premiere here at FICValdivia.
Vendrá la Muerte y Tendrá Tus Ojos, by José Luis Torres Leiva
The case of José Luis Torres Leiva is peculiar, in terms of the current panorama in Chilean cinema: he has delved into almost all possible audiovisual genres, from the defined structures of documentary (Ningún Lugar en Ninguna Parte), to fiction (El Cielo, La Tierra y la Lluvia), but also into music video, with Antártica (a complete piece for Leo Quintero’s eponymous album), different variants of TV format, and also small clips and videos for viral circulation.
This year, Torres Leiva, who has worked largely outside State funding, finished Vendrá la Muerte y Tendrá Tus Ojos, his latest feature, thanks in part to the Europe-Latin America Coproduction Forum. The picture is currently participating in the official competition at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, and will celebrate its Latin American premiere in Valdivia.
The movie centers on the relationship between María (Julieta Figueroa), and Ana (Amparo Noguera), and the sharp turn it takes, when one of them is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and refuses all treatment. The cycle that begins is the preparation for death, which the couple faces by moving to a small house in the woods, to await the imminent departure. There, the affective intensity of days past will be rekindled, an intensity that routine had placated, but that the absence of the urban, and this voluntary solitude seem to amplify.
Just like in a large portion of the filmmaker’s work, the story allows him to establish powerful relationships with the landscape, as had already happened in El Cielo, La Tierra y la Lluvia, in Verano, and also, in his most recent El Viento Sabe que Vuelvo a Casa, a tale situated squarely in the equidistant area between documentary and fiction.
The title of the picture is taken from a poem by Italian writer Cesare Pavese that articulates the idea of the implacable. As it reads in one of its stanzas:
“Death has a gaze for everyone.
Death will come and will have your eyes.
It will be like leaving a vice behind,
Like seeing in the mirror
a dead face looking out,
like listening to lips that have already shut.
Mute, we will descend into the abyss.”
Hra (The Play), by Alejandro Fernández Almendras
Alejandro Fernández Almendras is a different matter. Last year, he finished Hra (The Play), his sixth full-length fiction, and the first he shot outside Chile. The movie was completely filmed in the Czech Republic, even before he started the project for Mi Amigo Alexis, which was speedily shot and premiered in May, this year.
For obvious reasons, his new picture departs drastically from the careful social observation that has animated his filmography, since his debut with Huacho, in 2009. However, it follows a similar mechanics, since it is set in the early 90s, when Czechoslovakia – which would split into two different republics in 1993 – initiated a violent privatizing process in several stages, after the final crisis of the former socialist nations that opened their borders in 1989.
Within this context, Hra (The Play) centers on a theater director that tries to stage a production of Phaedra, a play by Unamuno, based on Hippolytus, by Euripides. However, the personal state of the protagonist is as chaotic as the situation in the country, which in the end prolongs the possibility of pushing the project forward, as it seems completely alien to the priorities of a nation that is irreversibly changing its economic, cultural, and social physiognomy, especially at a time when the country is led by someone like Václav Havel, a representative from the world of culture and theater.
In formal terms, Fernández Almendras manifests complete distance from his recent pictures Matar a un Hombre (2014), and Aquí no ha Pasado Nada (2016), as this new film was shot in black and white, and possesses a certain European aesthetic, reminiscent of Bergman in the 50s. At any rate, Fernández has made it clear this is a drama with the tinges of a romantic comedy.
Attendees to the coming edition of FICValdivia, taking place on October 7 to 13, will get to enjoy the anticipated pictures by Ignacio Agüero, José Luis Torres Leiva, and Alejandro Fernández Almendras, along with countless other novelties in national and international cinema.