Chilean Cinema Day: A date commemorating the passing of filmmakers Carmen Bueno and Jorge Müller


On November 29, 1974, Carmen Bueno and Jorge Müller – a well-known Chilean filmmaking couple – would be seen for the last time freely on the streets of Santiago.

That day, DINA troops arrested the couple at the intersection of Francisco Bilbao and Los Leones streets. Carmen, 24, and Jorge, 27, were taken to Villa Grimaldi, where they were subjected to torture and assaults by state agents. To date, their bodies have disappeared.

Today, 48 years after this event, Chilean cinema commemorates this date to remember this black episode in the country’s history and honor the work of both filmmakers, a day that seeks to keep alive the memory of their legacy, but also to make visible their forced disappearance.

moral impunity

The coordinator of the University of Chile Film Archive, Luis Horta, points out that this crime has remained with moral impunity for the generations following Müller and Bueno.

“We recognize the need for a state institution, such as the University of Chile, to open this space of memory, to sensitize the community to the need to respect each other in our ideological differences and dissent, and that filmmakers are never again persecuted for thinking and create”.

For the director and director of Extension and Communication of the Faculty of Communication and Image of the U. de Chile, Nicolás Guzmán, this date implies “keeping alive the memory of Carmen Bueno and Jorge Müller, and with them a film tradition in our country that analyzes its territory and that allows us to understand ourselves as a society and as people”.

Cinema and memory

Taking up the objective of preserving the memory of this date, the director and director of the famous documentary “El Diario de Agustín”, Ignacio Agüero, underlines that cinema by its very nature is a fact of memory. For the academic, cinema consists, among other things, in capturing images of the world and preserving them for eternity.

“That’s what Jorge Müller himself did as director of photography for Raúl Ruiz’s film El Realismo Socialista. Therefore, Chilean Cinema Day cannot give up the fact that this film, El Realismo Socialista, cannot yet see the light. It is a right, not only of the filmmakers, but of all Chileans, to ensure that this film, shot in 1972 and 1973, can be seen in its entirety today.”

Another authoritative voice in the survey on Chilean cinema is the co-founder of the Chilean Women’s Film Festival (FEMCINE) and author of the book “Luz, Cámara, Transición. The roll of Chilean cinema from 1993 to 2003”, Antonella Estévez. The journalist argues that this date is important to remember Müller and Bueno “not only for their significant contribution, especially the two of them, but also because they represent the audiovisual world persecuted, tortured, exiled, exonerated and – in this case – murdered under dictatorship”.

film club

In relation to the meaning of this date, the coordinator of the Cineclub Sala Sazie of the U. de Chile, Valentina Ávila, comments that every November 29th she recalls a way of advancing in a process that allows us to approach memory from different dimensions. In this sense, for the head of the Education and Mediation Area of ​​the Film Library, this is an opportunity to continue testing the sensitivity we have in 2022 with this topic.

“In my experience at the Cineclub, if you install these themes currently, it is closely linked, for example, to October 18, which is a very recent experience that we have in which they have also started to take and human rights have been violated like at that time. ”.

For Luis Horta, also an academic at the Faculty of Communication and Image, when we speak of memory “we are also speaking of something abstract. Memory does not exist without forgetting, and -therefore- that duality implies a cultural rethinking of the way in which we relate to the materialities that host stimuli that activate memories, or can close them”. Horta underlines that cinema itself is not memory, but a materiality that stimulates it to emerge.

“Today we can speak in abstract terms of collective and subjective memories, it happens because we live in a world in which matter has been displaced by virtuality, and knowledge has been exchanged with information”.

No large audience

This commemoration also invites us to rethink the new ways Chilean cinema offers its audience. In this sense, Antonella Estévez points out, there is currently an important group of directors who are making films in different languages ​​”who have super interesting things to say and who are constantly in dialogue with our society”.

However, he cautions that “it is a pity that these films mostly do not reach a large audience, are not shown on television and are very unlikely to reach commercial theaters in a condition where people can see them.”

The author of the publication “A grammar of cinematic melancholy. Modernity and not mourning in certain Chilean cinema” adds that at the moment there are several generations who are telling stories at the same time, from different sides, “and this is very precious. It seems important to me to underline that we can count on those points of view, because we are living in a moment of great confrontation, of great distance, and cinema has that empathic possibility of putting ourselves in the other’s place, of helping us to look beyond the differences and find ourselves in the human”.

To this final reflection are added the statements of the filmmaker and screenwriter Orlando Lübbert, who underlines that cinema, fiction and documentary allow us to see what is not visible to the naked eye.

“I refer to Cinema with a capital letter and to what the director means by his work, which is essentially entertainment. But the most important thing is that it allows us to see inside people, which encourages them to walk, to ask, to explore, to desire, to love. Even if I think there is not much to celebrate, I am encouraged to propose on Cinema Day to evaluate what has been done, but, always in the light of what is possible, of what we have stopped doing », he concludes.

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