In Chile, proposals to ensure a dignified life for every living being have been prevalent since the 2019 social uprising, and now they are back in full force in the weeks leading up to a historic national plebiscite, the first since the return to democracy. This referendum, which aims to determine whether citizens approve a process that would generate a new constitution, will be held on October 25th. Due to the contingency, during the whole month our Thursdays of Chilean Cinema program will focus on contemporary portraits of the political, films that give us a glimpse of the effects of social exclusion, structural violence, solidarity and community. Through their work, Chilean filmmakers have demonstrated that cinema is a place to come together, a space in which to ask difficult questions, establishing bridges of dialogue and transformation. It is our delight to continue spreading their voices and points of view across screens around the world.
To inaugurate the month of October, we are sharing two films that immerse us in the experiences of the other, lives that according to their directors, are disrupted by the injustices of an economic model that favors only a privileged few and harms the rest. We invite you to watch Tales About the Future (2012) by Pachi Bustos and If You Listen Carefully (2016) by Nicolás Gúzman, two urgent, unmissable and completely enthralling documentaries. Both construct intimate and emotional portraits of their characters, weaving social observations with dreams of the future, challenging universal audiences along the way.
In Tales About the Future (2012), Bustos takes a look at the hopes and desires of four people who grew up in a shanty town in the periphery of Santiago, intertwining their past and present subjectivities to build an authentic take on modern Chilean society. With spectacular photography at the hands of Pablo Valdés (The mole agent), we are immersed in the difficulties of building a dignified life in an unjust and class-based Santiago. This film, the third by Bustos after Actores secundarios (2004) and Ángeles negros (2007), was applauded for its poetic take on social critique, and received awards at the Havana, SANFIC, Antofagasta festivals, as well as a Pedro Sienna Award for Best Documentary.
In If You Listen Carefully (2016), Gúzman focuses his gaze on the complex educational crisis, seen through four friends who live their youth between highways and paddocks on the margins of Santiago. A common question surrounds the characters throughout the film: Do you think you will find happiness in the future? In a city that traps them between the Andes mountains and the subway lines, in a school where they learn nothing, the days go by, while their aspirations are ignored. They only want classes to be done so they can go out and have fun with their friends, facing together the arrival of a future they can’t even decide for themselves. Premiering in FIDOCS and screened in schools throughout Chile, the first feature documentary by this talented director shines a light on the frustrations and desires of an entire generation.