Chilean Cinema 2012 #10 – Where the Condors Fly (2012)

(Chile, Switzerland, Germany, China, Argentina, Russia 2012 90m) Aula Magna UACh

p Hartmut Homolka, Vadim Jendreyko, Carlos Klein d/w/c/ed Carlos Klein

To those who don’t know, I’ve made myself a promise to see every chilean film released in theaters during 2012, and those others 2012 chilean films that I manage to see through other mediums, I have not been highly succesful, but I plan to ammend that in the future and watch everything as it comes out as soon as possible and review it inmediatly, without much ado I shall present you one of the best films I saw at the Valdivia Film Festival in 2012.

Another note to those who just came to this feature, those names in the credits that are in italic as this, are people that I’ve met or known, if there ever is a name that is in bold like this is someone I’ve actually worked with in any audiovisual project during my career.

Victor Kossakovsky is one of the most recognized documentarists in the world of art-documentary-observational cinema that is realized right now in the world, being one of the most pure and clear examples of that kind of filmmaking, being able to turn in great works on different reflections and issues that are in his mind but that he doesn’t speak of (one of his major characteristics) but he just shows something that he thinks that the world wants to see. With films like ‘Tishe!’ (2003) and ‘Russia from My Window’ (2000) he has made a name for himself as one of the most interesting russian filmmakers from the past few years. His latest film was a visual and worldwide project named ‘¡Vivan las Antípodas!’ (2011), a film that manages to find images in different parts of the world that are antipodes one of the other and trying to creat a symphonie of images and connections between many places in the world. Now, as you may now, that is not the film that we are supposed to talk about… or maybe it is, since ‘Where the Condors Fly’ is a documentary about Kossakovsky and the making of his 2011 film, one that opened to great acclaim in many festivals around the world and that will be making a showing soon in the next Cinema B Festival in Chile.

How can a making off film take the prizes and critical appraisal that many others fail to have? Well, because this is a film with a vision and a mission, taking some of the elements of the Kossakovsky style but at the same time fighting those standards of what documentary cinema should be according to the bickering and funny russian director (as we get to know him during the shoot of the film). It’s a film that manages to be more than a making off for a film, it will never be an extra on a DVD as it will have its own, as it is the work of a director that managed to have his say and his own voice through the images, decissions and places of someone else, it is interesting the never-ending collapsing and mirror-like feature that manages to bring into your mind this film, from its initial moments narrated in english by the director as he records take after take of narration (something Kossakovsky would never aproove if he ever got hands on the making of the film, as he says as the film goes along, how he wouldn’t have used certain lighting or spaces to do the constant interviews that interrupt the flow of the filmmaking in progress). It is a film to treasure and see many times because it deserves the analysis and the thought process of what it actually means to make a film about another director and how the film doesn’t turn to be about him at all, but about how we film and see the process of filming as something true to our souls, something that is needed for the artists, something that must come out of curiosity.

Now, what elevates this film to something beyond the whole mumbo-jumbo about film, filmmaking, ideas and all that meta stuff, is that the persona of Kossakovsky is one of the most intriguing, interesting and funny in recent years. We all have our favorite directors when it comes to public appearances, how they speak, how they move, how they look, the passion which they embed into their words and work, for example, a favorite of many is Davic Lynch because of his speech and hystrionism that make it completely hilarious and at the same time profound, prone to obvious imitations and parodies. Kossakovsky is someone to add to your list, he is a mad man, he wants to get things done the way he wants them or else it doesn’t work, he has a complete control over the production, and when he’s not happy he’s not worried to voice it out and tell everyone to do their job correctly, and the way he speaks his accented english is just amazing, his reactions are sometimes those of a child wondering how the world works and being amazed by it, and at the same time he is a funny guy overall, he has profound things to say, and he also says “chucha” (a chilean swear word) all over the world, so that makes this film and this director one of the best representations of film persona of 2012.

9/10

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