Moving from series to films, Juan ignacio Sabatini returns to the big screen with Matar a Pinochet , which during these days had its premiere at the Huelva Festival. The film is a journey through the gray areas of the human being, building complex characters and extreme situations, a political thriller inspired by real events.
Sabatini uses to his advantage all his knowledge of the television suspense achieved in directing such successful series as Zamudio and El Reemplazante , as well as in what was his debut feature Red Eyes (2010), one of the highest grossing documentaries in the history of Chile. Produced by Juan Pablo Sallato, Pablo Díaz and Adrián Solar (Villano), we spoke with Sabatini about this story inspired by the book “Los fusileros” by Juan Cristóbal Peña, where we see Tamara and Ramiro begin a journey that will explore the clandestine lives of a group of young people who in the spring of 1986 had in their hands the opportunity to change the destiny of a country: to end the Pinochet dictatorship.
-How is such a real and transcendental fact in the recent history of Chile brought to fiction?
When one decides to take a true story and make it into fiction, it is to see in perspective what is the spirit of what is being told. What do you want to convey. Because there is a tendency for the general public to assume fiction as an absolute truth and I think fiction is precisely what is great is that it allows taking distance from the real event itself and seeking a reflection or looking for characters that allow to soak up the spirit of the real, but to build a fiction. There is the main challenge, from where one stops to tell a story inspired by real events. I say inspired and not based precisely to mark that distance, especially in this particular movie.
And how important is it for the recent history of Chile?
For me it is an event that is rarely talked about. I think it is a taboo subject, super buried, it has a lot of dirt on it, it is super hidden and I just find it interesting to talk about it, to rescue it, especially taking into perspective the times that have happened from October 18 onwards.
-In an interview with La Tercera, you spoke of “putting on the table a part of our totally taboo history” and you got into the political theme based on “Los fusileros” (Cristóbal Peña), how did you find the point of view of the film ?
After a long time working on the script for Cristobal Peña's book, we tried to find, with the co-writers, the particularities of this story and in that search, we came across the story of Cecilia Magni, Commander Tamara.
The approach to her story was from people very close to her, but from her family side, so the character that appeared in those conversations seemed to me to be of extraordinary power, offering a wide range of nuances that they explored in this idea of the people who there are behind the characters that they themselves built to enter into this tremendous mission to liberate Chile from the dictatorship.
I believe that the film proposes a game of moving away from the hyper-realistic register and mere events to pose a human reflection, put an eye on the human, on characters with defects and virtues in the face of this tremendous challenge that was to combat the oppressive agents of the state .
-You make the leap from series to films maintaining the line of powerful stories that shake contemporary Chile. Why did you decide to tell this story through a feature film? Is it because of the story itself or because of a more personal challenge of changing the format?
I found it interesting to take up the challenge. Although in a serial format there is more time to explore the stories, in some way it forced or challenged me to look at this story in a different context, without so many limits or within these sometimes rigid structures that the serial industry. I found that the format of the feature film allowed me to explore other ways of telling this story that I found interesting.