Although Sergio Castilla is one of the few Chilean filmmakers with a truly international career, official film history has neglected his role, not only due to the lack of distribution within the country but also across borders. When a member of Amnesty International saw Prisioneros desaparecidos in San Francisco, she exclaimed: “This film shows the real horrors of torture. It's the movie about human rights abuse”; but then she refused to promote it because it had been made in Fidel Castro's Cuba. Ahead of his time in denouncing the precarious conditions of women (Mijita is the first Chilean feminist film), Castilla has always been committed to the urgent social and political changes that the times demanded. The question underlying his films is how a Chilean filmmaker can remain faithful to his personal obsessions as well as to the history of his country and, at the same time, be relevant to international audiences. Gentille Alouette offers a masterful balance between local sorrow and global avant-garde. The whole of Castilla's work is a perfect site of memory of cinema at its best.
1 January 2016