Chilean Cinema 2013 #17: El otro día (2012)

(Chile 2012 120m) Vimeo Screener

p Ignacio Agüero, Christian Aspee, Daniela Salazar, Pablo Manzziotti, Amalric de Poncharra d/w Ignacio Agüero c Ignacio Agüero, Arnaldo Rodríguez, Gabriel Díaz, Claudia Serrano ed Sophie França

The latest edition of FIDOCS finished last week, and the winner of the main award at the chilean competition was this film. It really had no competition among those who would see it and to those who were the jury and the organizers of the festival, after all, this documentary comes as a new breath of fresh air into the style and documentary work of Agüero until this day, it comes as the recognition that he has deserved due to a career filled with incredible and succesful works since the 1970’s til this date, and that ground covers many of the most famous worldwide known best documentaries ever made in Chile. He is one of the main reasons why I say that chilean filmmakers should always stick to the documentary and never bother with fiction, he and Patricio Guzmán may be the best examples of why this is true. This particular film ended up in my list of the top 20 films of 2012 and right now has a release in theaters thanks to the MiraDoc initiative program that is touring more documentaries to the common people than ever in any other year in the history of Chilean cinema, not even television right now is buying or even having a major concern on having these kind of films playing regularly on screen or in a decent time slot. To see this documentary on the big screen is a joy and a pleasure!

This movie had its original world premiere at the Valdivia Film Festival in 2012, but I didn’t have a chance of seeing it, mainly because it only had one showing and it was a gala that quickly filled up with all the important people. Nevertheless, one of the main programmers and organizers of the festival came out to me in twitter to give me a screener link of the film, so I could ‘write about it’ since I was doing already for this blog a bunch of reviews of chilean cinema, and he was impressed with my coverage of the festival itself that I did via twitter. So, Raúl Camargo gave me access and I was happy to see it before closing up my list of the top 20 films of 2012, where I wrote a capsule review in which I’m basing this review off. Ignacio Agüero has dedicated his life to documentaries and while this is high among his list of works, this still can’t compete with works that have stood the test of time like Cien niños esperando un tren (1988), one of the most famous and important chilean films (not even documentaries) known worldwide, and he has made them better and better as time goes by. It was interesting to see this film competing with ¿Qué historia es esta y cuál es su final? (2013) in the main film competition, as they both are an exploration of the house of Agüero and of his history, one a more sentimental and the other more cinematical and in a film-buff admiratory way… it was, in a way, the festival of Agüero and the final decission was kinda obvious.

Still, this is one of his biggest accomplishments, a complicated film that talks about many things that start to happen in a man’s life, specially when you start to look back on the history of your parents, your life, coincidences and your own family. The way these themes are explored are through a gimmick: every person that knocks on his door would be recieved and then asked if Ignacio himself could visit them at their own house. There we see a bunch of different individuals as the director travels to many places of Santiago, visiting his postman, a homeless guy, a woman who sweeps the streets and an art director that would like to work for the production company of Ignacio Agüero. This last segment, the one with the female art director, is easily the best one, as it has a cinematic and truth quality about the access to education and the filmmaking business in Chile. The way that the cinematography seems to explore the light of the house of Agüero at the same time that it seems to explore the different streets and houses of Santiago is always attractive. I hope that one day this would be easily available to more people, as it’s a deep and profound work from one of our few chilean filmmaking masters still working today.


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