Programmed by Arnaud Hée
One hundred children in the town of Lo Hermida on the outskirts of Santiago take part in a film workshop led by Professor Alicia Vega. In the workshop’s playful environment, they build some of the devices that led to the invention of cinema, like a thaumatrope and a zoetrope. They also use paper photos to make a movie showing its people in the shape of a caterpillar running through the streets. At the end, they go to a cinema for the first time in the city center, which they are also seeing for the first time. An exercise in creation and joy as an escape from the oppression of the military dictatorship.
This film makes Alicia Vega a heroine in the world of cinema, championing it and bringing it to some of Santiago’s most deprived neighbourhoods stagnating in the mixture of terror and torpor at the end of Pinochet’s reign. Ignacio Agüero also makes her a true film star, unforgettable and charismatic, and driven by a seemingly boundless energy and an admirably instructive faith and dexterity. As well as being about transmission, this is quite simply one of the most beautiful films there is about movies, possibly because it weaves a bond between its capacity to describe a reality – an oh-so-complicated socio-political situation – and the liberation it offers through imagination. It goes without saying, and always without any preachifying whatsoever, that Agüero gives us a powerfully political film.
Programmer, teacher and critic