Chilean Cinema 2013 #16: Cuentos sobre el futuro (2012)

(Chile 2012 68m) Cineteca Nacional

p Paula Talloni d/w Pachi Bustos c Pablo Valdés ed Danielle Fillios s Manuel García

It’s dissapointing to see a documentary that is not interesting, and not because it goes the safe route, but those who try to do something different, interesting, either in its themes or visuals, but ultimately it doesn’t matter, it all fails either because it’s ill-coincieved or maybe the recording of situations in terms of documenting the real life wasn’t as interesting as it was supposed to be. The film starts with a promise that starts interesting but it’s quickly broken by the editing and the series of scenes that follow it: footage of a bunch of kids from a poor settling in Santiago are given classes in a workshop so they can record a news show of their own, we see their dreams and hopes for a better future, we see them speak out their dreams, their own tales about what they will do for their own lives in the future, hence the title of the film. We cut ahead to the world of today, and we see them, not together, but followed each apart from one another, knowing that their lives didn’t actually change and that their dreams were nothing but that, dreams. So, I guess they’re going to get reunited and do something nice remembering the things they did at the kids news show? Maybe given an opportunity? Uhm… referencing what they did as kids for one time at least? No? Then, why in the name of all that is necessary in documentary filmmaking did you show that footage just to never use it again?

How interesting and attractive a workshop for poor kids on the language and craft of a news show is in terms of a story for a film, a film course for similar children was the basis for one of the best documentaries of all time and maybe at the same time one of the most impressive chilean films that anyone can watch (‘Cien niños esperando un tren’ (1989)). Instead we are given observation, the pure and simple observation of their miserable lives, that goes for 60 minutes, showing us how poor and how badly they’ve got their life put together, how bad were the choices they made, how they’ve not followed the dreams that they once had, and absolutely no reference whatsoever to the relation between them and to the workshop that they made as kids. What happened here? Did the documentary had a weak director? Pachi Bustos, what were you doing? You dozed off behind the camera and just went there and hoped for the best while you observed their lives and fall asleep again… I know I dozed off a couple of times during this film, and that isn’t something that I’m proud to say, as I kinda see myself as a professional when it comes to see and critique these movies, but here I am, condemning a documentary filmmaker because she filled us with hope, a hope for something interesting and exciting and she just gives us nothing to work with. It’s a complete dissapointment to what I was hoping for in retrospective!

‘Cuentos sobre el futuro’ (2012) may be an honest look at social problems of modern life in Chile, but at the same time, as an observant, it doesn’t even have a glimpse of hope or solutions for them, maybe that’s just the grim look of the film, but at the same time I was given absolutely nothing. I already know these problems exist, hell, some of them aren’t different than those of some of my friends and even my own family! Why are we seeing this? Is there a reason? I liked some parts more than others, but at the end a bad taste was in my mouth. I hope I don’t get to see another documentary that dissapoints me more than the one I saw that sunday afternoon under the goverment palace, I truly hope that this doesn’t end up as the worst documentary I’ve seen this year.



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