both objective and subjective, rare to find, but worth seeing once
I saw this very hard to find documentary in my docu/non-fiction film class. It depicts the history behind the Chilean Women's movement. Not a movement for their rights, but for the right to find out what happened to the 'disappeared', those who were captured by the Dictator-run Chilean government in the 70's, and were reported missing. The women then went and made many arpellias, cloths that marked as symbols of their repression, and the devastation, violence and just desperate lives they led while their significant others or kids were nowhere to be found.
Donald Sutherland provides the narration, often written like a 60 minutes episode elongated to tell a fuller story. The director Andrew Johnson is more of a mediator between the actually women of Chile who have suffered under this sort of repression of the spirit- not knowing if one is alive or dead is quite cruel for them- along with a couple of interviews with outsiders like author Marojorie Anderta. Although some scenes, like a montage of certain images (a few disturbing, which have been scattered throughout the film anyway) put to a song by Sting that's on the topic, almost create a bit of a distance with the viewer, perhaps that may be needed. For some seeing the film, if at all, it may be rather eye-opening, the kind of film where you may think 'how could this have been going on?'
However I was very moved by the scenes with direct interviews with the subjects, all mothers or siblings of those left near abandoned in the already impoverished conditions of Santiago. And the arpellias, which are sort of part of the emotional core of the film, doesn't make it too sentimental either; there's a certain innocence that evokes just what's needed to say for the rest of the world to hear. I'm not sure I'd really want- or need- to see the film again, but considering it's near non-existent state outside of a classroom environment, I was fulfilled with the results (i.e. as a documentary it informed and persuaded, while staying with enough facts via the narration).
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