Today we are thrilled to present a very special edition: to celebrate the world premiere of My Tender Matador by Rodrigo Sepúlveda at the Venice Film Festival in the Venice Days competition, we are presenting the acclaimed director's previous film: Aurora (San Sebastian, 2015). While the expectations for My Tender Matador keep building up, Aurora gives us key clues to understand Sepúlveda’s author-driven point of view and cinematographic trajectory. Along with this film we also invite you to watch the short film by the talented director and editor Melisa Miranda, Medulla (IDFA, 2014). Both films ask audiences difficult questions about motherhood and grief, one a fiction feature based on real events, and the other through an autobiographical documentary format.
In Aurora, Amparo Noguera (Death shall come and will have your eyes) plays the role of Sofía, a teacher who is in the process of wanting to adopt a child, and reads in the newspaper that a newborn has been found dead in a garbage dump. Sofía becomes obsessed with the fate of the child who, legally, has no rights to a name or to be buried. Sofía starts a legal campaign to be able to bury “Aurora,” a struggle that ends up having profound consequences in her life.
In an interview with CinemaChile in 2015, Sepúlveda told us about the creative process that brought Aurora to life and the real events that inspired the script: " I was interested in the case because it was difficult to understand, but very moving." The role of Noguera was inspired by a woman named Bernarda, who in real life lives in Puerto Montt (southern Chile), and adopts and buries babies found in garbage dumps. Rodrigo explained that when he met her "she had already buried three children and today she has buried five, in addition to adopting two other living children."
In Aurora, Sepúlveda established himself as an expert in directing actors, transmitting through the film Noguera's emotional pulse as she goes through various difficult emotions and stages. The film also features powerful performances by Luis Gnecco (Neruda) and Jaime Vadell (Post mortem ) and was edited by José Luis Torres Leiva (The wind knows that I’m coming back home) and Andrea Chignoli (Spider). It was produced by Forastero, the same production company that produced My Tender Matador.
Our other featured film this week is Medulla, a short doc that explores maternity with the same level of depth and reflective language, but now looking at the personal and intimate experiences lived by the director, Melisa Miranda. Mixing archival material with evocative fragments, the film explores the aftermath of a stroke that Miranda's mother had. Constructed with skillful editing techniques, Miranda searches for the lost memory of a woman she never really knew, and who is now more indecipherable than ever. Through sincerity and healing, the film looks for a way to recover the lost image of a body that Miranda never managed to understand.
With a resounding success in festivals around the world, it premiered at IDFA (Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival), was exhibited in Iraq, Ecuador and India and was awarded at the Berlin Lakino Festival, Surdocs, Femcine and the Iquique Film Festival, among others.
Melisa Miranda has shown herself to be one of the most important documentary editors in Chile, leading the montage process of films such as Adriana´s Pact by Lissette Orozco (Berlinale, 2017) and The Journey of Monalisa by Nicole Costa (IDFA, 2019), among many others. She is currently editing Albertina y los muertos by César Borie and Las cautivas, a Peruvian documentary by Natalia Maysundo. She is also going back to the directing realm of filmmaking, and is in the process of writing her opera prima, Los Días sin nombre.