2.  Experimental Filmmaking at the University of Chile 1960s–70s

Source: Cineteca University of Chile

The 1970s saw a thriving culture of emerging Chilean filmmakers who had learned from the 1960s work of directors like Joris Ivens and Chris Marker (retrospectives at YIDFF ’99 and 2013, respectively). Filmmaking activity centered around the University of Chile, where an experimental film club become a center and then a department. This program features the early films of directors who later fled Chile after Pinochet’s military coup. The University of Chile Cineteca, which extended its cooperation in this program, has been working to digitally restore and put these works online.


. . . À Valparaíso

CHILE, FRANCE / 1963 / Spanish, French / Color, B&W / Blu-ray (Original: 35mm) / 28 min

Director: Joris Ivens
Assistant Director: Sergio Bravo
Photography: Georges Strouve
Camera Assistant: Patricio Guzmán Campos
Editing: Jean Ravel
Music: Germaine Montero, Gustavo Becerra
Narration Text: Chris Marker
Producer: Luis Cornejo

Valparaiso is a port town in Chile that is wedged between the mountains and the sea. With a narration written by Chris Marker, director Joris Ivens’ film gives a rich and poetic portrayal of this beautiful city laid out on a steep hillside and of the life of its run-down port. This piece exerted a significant influence on the development of documentary film in Chile in the early days of experimental filmmaking activities at the University of Chile.

-The Suitcase

La maleta

CHILE / 1963 / Spanish / B&W / Blu-ray (Original: 16mm) / 21 min

Director, Script: Raúl Ruiz
Assistant Director: Jorge Leiva
Photography: Enrique Urteaga
Editing: Raúl Ruiz, Inti Briones
Sound: Felipe Álvarez, Álvaro Morgan
Music: Jorge Arriagada
Cast: Renato Duvauchelle, Gonzalo Palta, Héctor Duvauchelle, Orietta Escámez

A man moves about together with a suitcase. Inside the suitcase there is a man. The suitcase goes where the man goes and the unexpected occurs when he puts it down on the floor . . . This was the directorial debut of Raúl Ruiz, known for such films as Time Regained and Mysteries of Lisbon.

-In an Alien Land

Por la tierra ajena

CHILE / 1965 / Spanish / B&W / Blu-ray (Original: 16mm) / 7 min

Director, Script: Miguel Littin
Photography, Editing: Fernando Bellet
Music: Patricio Manns
Producer: Tomás de la Barra

Scenes of people living on the streets of Santiago and of children living in poverty make visible the unfairness and inequality of Chilean society. This was director Miguel Littin’s first film.

-Child Malnutrition

Desnutrición infantil

CHILE / 1969 / Spanish / B&W / Blu-ray (Original: 16mm) / 13 min

Director, Script, Editing, Sound: Álvaro Ramírez
Photography: Héctor Ríos
Narration: Héctor Noguera

The impoverished in Chile agonize over their children’s malnutrition. Through images of emaciated infants and their funerals, and citation of the actual figures—1950 saw the death of two hundred out of every thousand children—this film calls attention to the gravity of this desperate situation.

-We Shall Overcome


CHILE / 1970 / Spanish / B&W / Blu-ray (Original: 16mm) / 17 min

Directors: Pedro Chaskel, Héctor Ríos
Photography: Héctor Ríos
Editing: Pedro Chaskel
Sound: Leonardo Céspedes
Music: Ángel Parra, Héctor Villalobos, Alejandro Reyes, Eduardo Carrasco, Richard Rojas

Kids scavenging through rubbish, and the mansions of the bourgeoisie. Malnourished children, and the extravagant lives of the upper class. The camera contrasts the societies of the poor and the rich. Then, at last, the workers rise up. The music tells the story in this film.

-Message from Chile

Recado de Chile

CHILE / 1978 / Spanish / B&W / Blu-ray (Original: 16mm) / 20 min

Directors, Producers: A collective of 7 directors from Chile, and 3 directors from Cuba

Members of the Association of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Chile use photographs of the faces of family disappeared under the Pinochet regime to bring attention to the then ongoing crisis. This film was produced by filmmakers who remained in Chile, with the assistance of The Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC).

-Insolent and Disheveled

Descomedidos y Chascones

CHILE / 1973 / Spanish / B&W / Blu-ray (Original: 16mm) / 77 min

Director, Script: Carlos Flores Delpino
Photography: Samuel Carvajal
Editing: Pedro Chaskel
Music: Los Jaivas
Animation: Jaime Reyes
Producer: Luis Mora

This documentary focuses on the youth of Chile, and was produced by the Department of Experimental Film of the University of Chile between September 1971 and December 1972, while Allende was still in power. It depicts through animation and experimental techniques the complicated social structure the Chilean youth found themselves in—with its capitalists and laborers, wealthy and poor, right wing and left.