Chile Encyclopedia of Cinema (2003)

By | December 14, 2021

The cinema made its entrance in Chile shortly after the Parisian screenings of the Lumière brothers, but it was only in 1902 that the first national production took place. It was Un ejercicio general de bomberos, a documentary short film shot by a group of anonymous pioneers. To see a fictional film we had to wait until 1910, when Adolfo Urzua Rosas made Manuel Rodríguez, a biography of the well-known hero of Independence. Except for a few other attempts at fiction, the production of the 1910s remained linked to the documentary and the titles highlighted the effort to resume daily life as well as the big and small events that filled the pages of newspapers. It is no coincidence that some publishers of printed periodicals produced newsreels and documentaries, trying to attract the same people interested in crime news and social events to the cinemas. This state of affairs meant that in the early years it was difficult to find filmmakers who were really interested in the language of cinema: among the few, Salvador Giambastiani and Pedro Sienna. The former made documentaries of considerable value, also allowing himself quick forays into fiction; the second instead laid the foundations for the development of the feature film, of which he became one of the masters in the 1920s. It was in this decade that strong female characters began to appear in films that also offered the public daring nude scenes, such as Agua de vertiente (1924) by Antonio Acevedo Hernández, and they did not mind historical and fictional stories, such as El húsar de la muerte (1925) by Sienna, revival of the life of the independentist M. Rodríguez. The silent era, apart from the not always excellent results, represented a privileged period in the history of Chilean cinema; Suffice it to say that almost eighty films were produced, of which fifteen alone in 1925. The poor quality of these products did not prevent the industry from expanding and looking at sound as a revolution to be followed at any cost. In this regard, the filmmaker Jorge Délano was specially sent to the United States to learn the new techniques of speech and was the author of the first Chilean sound film, Norte y sur (1934). The enthusiasm of the production companies led to the production of many films conceived for both the domestic and foreign markets, specifically for the US one. where the Hispanic community was beginning to be numerous. The imitation of American models resulted in a distortion of national themes which – despite the birth, in 1942, of a state-owned production company that had its own studios, Chile Films (which would have had an alternate destiny, closing in 1949 and resuming business in 1967) – led to a slow but progressive crisis, which began in the 1940s and continued into the 1950s. This last decade was the darkest period of Chilean cinema: production stagnated, ideas were lacking, so we went down from forty titles to just one title made per year. of a state-owned production company that had its own studios, Chile Films (which would have had an alternate fate, closing in 1949 and resuming business in 1967) – led to a slow but progressive crisis, which began over the years 1940s and continued into the 1950s. This last decade was the darkest period of Chilean cinema: production stagnated, ideas were lacking, so we went down from forty titles to just one title made per year. of a state-owned production company that had its own studios, Chile Films (which would have had an alternate fate, closing in 1949 and resuming business in 1967) – led to a slow but progressive crisis, which began over the years 1940s and continued into the 1950s. This last decade was the darkest period of Chilean cinema: production stagnated, ideas were lacking, so we went down from forty titles to just one title made per year. For Chile 1996, please check pharmacylib.com.

The turnaround came thanks to universities and political struggles. In 1958 the Catholic University created a film department, in 1960 the State University founded the Cine experimental section, directed by the documentary filmmaker Sergio Bravo, and created the university film library, while in 1962 some politically committed filmmakers started the Viña Cineclub del Mar, an organization created to produce works in 8 and 16 mm and to promote events dedicated to Latin American cinema. Above all, the holding of festivals and reviews was an extraordinary opportunity for Chilean filmmakers to meet the authors of other Latin American countries and to lay the foundations of a type of nouvelle vague in tune with that which in the same period also passed through a good part of European cinema. Joris Ivens made two films in the Chile of those years that were part of his documentary commitment on revolutionary movements and liberation struggles in the world, À Valparaíso (1962) and Le train de la victoire (1964), and had S. Bravo as collaborators and Miguel Littin, filmmakers who later devoted themselves to a cinema with a strong political militancy. 1967 was particularly lively and significant: the Consejo de fomento de la industry cinema was established and a new law on cinema was passed. These were the furious and highly politicized years of the documentaries of Álvaro Covacevic (Morir un poco, 1967) and Bravo (La marcha del carbón, 1963, and Las banderas del pueblo, 1964); of the first political feature films rooted in Littin’s Chilean socio-anthropological reality (El chacal de Nahueltoro, 1969; La tierra prometida, 1973, completed in Cuba) or Aldo Francia, founder of the Cineclub of Viña del Mar and influenced by Italian Neorealism and a Catholic-Marxist humanism (Valparaíso, mi amor, 1970, and Ya no Basta con rezar, 1971, Not enough anymore pray); of the first films by Raúl Ruiz, which combined experimentalism with literary suggestions and political ideology (Tres tristes tigres, 1968; La colonia penal, 1971); of the films of historical-social reflection by Helvio Soto (voto + fusil, 1970) and of the militant films influenced by the techniques of direct cinema by Patricio Guzmán who, after dealing with the working class condition (La respuesta de octubre, 1972), led to term in Cuba, where he had taken refuge following the 1973 coup, La batalla de Chile (1974-1999), an intense and articulated three-part investigation into the political events of the socialist government and the military coup. Many filmmakers had gathered around the experience of the Unidad Popular government and the moral and political figure of S. Allende, fervently supporting the impetus of ideal awakening (also through a common manifesto, drawn up in 1970, for the rebirth of national cinema) and documenting its activities with some works (¿Qué hacer ?, 1970, by Saul Landau, R. Ruiz and Nina Serrano; El primer año by Guzmán, 1971). Littin made a film-interview with Allende (Compañero president, 1971) and in 1970 became president of Chile Films, relaunched at that time as a state-owned film organization, from which he resigned shortly after, attracted by the radical positions of MIR (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria),

The exciting season and the political-social renewal were brutally stifled in 1973 by the military coup. All forms of financing and production encouragement were swept away: the fall of Allende marked the end of every project. The military junta headed by General A. Pinochet abrogated all the laws in favor of cinema and forced some filmmakers into exile, or even physically eliminated others in the brutal massacres that followed the seizure of power. Thanks to international solidarity, cinema nevertheless remained alive, witnessed by independent works that tried painfully to differentiate themselves from the dominant ideology, such as Julio comienza en Julio (1978) by Silvio Caiozzi, a happy attempt to revive national cinematographic poetics. However, years of extreme difficulty still passed, mortified by a cultural policy that left no room for the free circulation of ideas. In fact, the Pinochet regime did not prohibit production, but heavily intervened on any project that alluded to the situation in which the country found itself. In this climate, production continued, but the level of films was necessarily low. There were exceptions, such as some documentaries that secretly saw the light despite censorship. but the level of the films was necessarily low. There were exceptions, such as some documentaries that secretly saw the light despite censorship. but the level of the films was necessarily low. There were exceptions, such as some documentaries that secretly saw the light despite censorship.

In 1985 Littin, who had first taken refuge in Cuba and then in Mexico, clandestinely shot in Chile the materials then edited in the film which ended in exile Acta general de Chile. However, it was from 1988, with the fall of the military regime, that filmmakers were able to return without restrictions behind the camera. Caiozzi finally completed in 1990 La luna en el espejo, from a novel by J. Donoso, Guzmán completed his reflection on the years of the dictatorship and its consequences with La memoria obstinada (1997) and Le cas Pinochet (2001), film these that were sent to many international festivals bringing attention back to Chilean cinema. With the collapse of the dictatorship, many filmmakers returned home, although some preferred to continue working abroad. For all, the case of Ruiz is valid, who kept faith with his stateless vocation by creating fantastic parables in Europe on the eternal mystery of existence. The 1990s marked an increase in production and a parallel expansion of cinemas, with an increase in the number of screens and a consequent increase in spectators. The phenomenon mainly involved large cities, where multiplexes and cinemas are at the cutting edge from a technological point of view, but 25% of the increase took place in the province. 70% of the takings remained the prerogative of foreign and mainly American films, although comforting results were finally achieved by domestic products as well. The 1990s marked an increase in production and a parallel expansion of cinemas, with an increase in the number of screens and a consequent increase in spectators. The phenomenon mainly involved large cities, where multiplexes and cinemas are at the cutting edge from a technological point of view, but 25% of the increase took place in the province. 70% of the takings remained the prerogative of foreign and mainly American films, although comforting results were finally achieved by domestic products as well. The 1990s marked an increase in production and a parallel expansion of cinemas, with an increase in the number of screens and a consequent increase in spectators. The phenomenon mainly involved large cities, where multiplexes and cinemas are at the cutting edge from a technological point of view, but 25% of the increase took place in the province. 70% of the takings remained the prerogative of foreign and mainly American films, although comforting results were finally achieved by domestic products as well. avant-garde from a technological point of view, but 25% of the increase took place in the province. 70% of the takings remained the prerogative of foreign and mainly American films, although comforting results were finally achieved by domestic products as well. avant-garde from a technological point of view, but 25% of the increase took place in the province. 70% of the takings remained the prerogative of foreign and mainly American films, although comforting results were finally achieved by domestic products as well.

Chile Encyclopedia of Cinema (2003)