The Crosses

Las cruces

- CHILE / 2018 / Spanish / Color / DCP / 80 min

Directors: Teresa Arredondo, Carlos Vásquez Méndez
Photography: Carlos Vásquez Méndez
Editing: Carlos Vásquez Méndez, Martín Sappia (EDA)
Sound: Andrea López Millán
Producers: Claudio Leiva Araos, Patricio Muñoz G., Teresa Arredondo, Carlos Vásquez Méndez
World Sales: dereojo comunicaciones

A massacre of union members at a paper manufacturing company in a small village in southern Chile. Several days after the military coup of September 11, 1973, the police threw nineteen factory workers in jail, who were only to be found dead six years later. The incident seemed buried without resolution until one police officer who refused to participate at the time came forward forty years later. Offering opposing testimony, he exposed the true motives of the paper manufacturer and the dictatorship. Death still hangs over this quiet town as it raises a voiceless scream with its innumerable crosses marking the killing fields. This work indicts a history of state-led atrocities.

[Director’s Statement] Without a doubt, recording the reading of the documents of the case was the most difficult part of the entire shooting process. From the beginning of the project we knew that we wanted people from the same towns where the victims came from reading the documents, but we put a condition on ourselves in this particular case: we would not include direct relatives of the victims in the reading sessions. For us, the aesthetics and ethics are united. We have to say that direct relatives offered themselves for reading, but we preferred to work with them in the searching for the people who would lend their voices for the film. However, it was extraordinarily difficult to find them as most of the people are still afraid to speak and take a position. The owners of Celulose Company—CMPC—are one of the richest families in South America. Despite this, the objective of any moral and political system is to prevent the recurrence of genocides, anywhere. Our film aims to address this task by making this story alive and present: because even today there are human beings destroying the lives of others.

Teresa Arredondo

Born in Lima, Perú in 1978, she now lives in Santiago de Chile. She started to study psychology in 1995 and she got her degree in 2003. Teresa moved to Spain in 2006 to study for a master’s degree in Theory and Practice of Creative Documentary Making at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Días con Matilde (2011), her second short film, was selected and awarded in many festivals, as the same as her first feature film Sibila (2012). Her second feature film Las cruces (co-directed by Carlos Vásquez Méndez) is premiered in FIDMarseille 2018.

Carlos Vásquez Méndez

Filmmaker, artist and researcher. The languages he uses are mostly film and photography emplaced in the border between documentary and fiction, his works establish constant correspondences between history, social sciences and artistic practices. His filmic works have been shown in different exhibitions and festivals. His last feature film [Pewen] Araucaria was premiered at the Cinéma du Réel (FR) 2016 festival and received the Joris Ivens / Center National des Plastiques Award for Best Opera Prima. He lives and works between Barcelona and Santiago de Chile.