I watch a lot of documentaries. In conversations, when I share about my love for docs, it inevitably becomes a discussion about that person’s brilliant idea for a documentary. For some reason, there’s this belief that making a documentary film is easy. All it takes is a couple interviews and some b-roll footage, right? No, not even close. Having a great idea doesn’t mean you will end up with a great film. And as a fan of docs, and a self-professed docunerd, it really bugs me when a filmmaker pieces together a bunch of interviews that talk about something that happened in the past. I’m not a total purist but, if all you have is a film filled with talking heads, then you aren’t really documenting anything. You end up recounting the past instead of documenting the present.
But, telling a story that happened in the past doesn’t have to be just talking heads. Once in a while, a filmmaker finds an innovative way to structure their doc, using striking imagery, narration, or creative editing–in combination with interviews. Such is the case with El Edificio de los Chilenos (The Chilean Building) which will have its U.S. theatrical premiere at the Maysles Cinema starting Monday, August 13. It has toured the world playing film festivals and winning awards, including the prize for Best Documentary at the 2011 New York International Latino Film Festival. It’s a personal and touching look at a unique moment in Chile’s political history that many people–including Chileans themselves–don’t know about.
El Edificio de los Chilenos (The Chilean Building)
Director: Macarena Aguiló
Chile/France/Cuba/The Netherlands | 2010 | 99 mins
Language: Spanish (with English subtitles)
It’s a story never before documented: While their parents battled the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, a group of children were raised, first in Europe and then in Cuba, safely and communally. The 20 adults who supervised “Project Home” saw over sixty children through to adulthood, children whose mothers and fathers–members of the leftist organization Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR)–fought in their homeland to fight for freedom, many never to be seen again. For the men and women in The Chilean Building, patriotic duty took another form—childcare rather than warfare; these adoptive, communal parents assumed responsibility for their charges for years to come. In this remarkable documentary, director Macarena Aguiló, herself a product of Project Home, provides an intimate, behind-the-scenes examination of a grand and surprising social and political experiment.
U.S. Theatrical Premiere at The Maysles Cinema, New York
Monday, August 13 through Sunday, August 19, 2012
Nightly at 7:30 p.m.
The Maysles Cinema was founded by legendary documentarian Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens, Salesman, Gimme Shelter). This non-profit, 57-seat theater in Harlem, with programming directed by Jessica Green, is dedicated to the exhibition of documentary film and video.
Written by Juan Caceres and Vanessa Erazo, LatinoBuzz is a weekly feature onSydneysBuzzthat highlights emerging and established Latino indie talent and upcoming trends in Latino film with the specific objective of presenting a broad range of Latino voices. Follow@LatinoBuzzon twitter.