Chilean Cinema 2013 #30: 74m2 (2012)

(Chile 2012 67m) Village Recoleta

p Paola Castillo, Soledad Silva d/w Tiziana Panizza, Paola Castillo c Pablo Valdés, Eduardo Cruz Coque ed Andrea Chignoli s Camila Moreno

Barely over an hour long, this documentary is among the most impressive that’s been done recently in terms of how important, urgent and at the same time impressive in a visual and investigative way they are. Following for years the problems, protests and later troubles that over a hundred families had when they were promised houses in the city of Valparaíso. It’s obvious what happens, the people from around those parts don’t want the new houses there, and it’s incredible to see how the people are against people living, just based on the fact that these are government paid houses (74 meters square, just like the title says), and they think that it might attract the wrong kind of people to their middle-class arrangement that they have, this is signalted when we see protests and papers put on the streets saying ‘no to the construction of social houses’, calling the people that would settle in ‘intruders’ to their peaceful community. It’s just outrageous to think that there’s people out there that are capable of saying that another human being is an intruder just based on the way that they live, that is, through a socially constructed house. There’s another sequence featuring a traveller salesman, that goes around selling alarms, bars and insurances to the people from around there, and the excuse that he uses to sell is the fact that soon there will be ‘new neighbors’ and they don’t know who they are and what they would do to the people from around there. It’s really one of the most rage filling films I’ve seen in quite a while, and as I left the theater after the presentation in BAFICI, I was left speechless that I was that far away from home and I was seeing maybe the most perfect portrait of the worst kind and face that our people has to offer.

But it’s incredible how, when the houses are finally settled and when the people can really start to live together, new problems arise, and here’s where I realized that people in Chile, my people, me included, are just damaged beyond belief, we not only can’t trust new people that come to live near us, we can’t even trust between us when we’re fighting for a similar cause. There’s a breach in the negotiations, two sectors of the new settlement are created, the people who want to fight for more and the people who are happy with the few things that they have. It’s heartbreaking to see how after years and years of fighting to finally have a home, you can’t have a community for yourself, you don’t have neighbors, because you are filled with rage towards the people who used to be with you and now they just don’t like you. The final minutes are without hope, maybe I left the theater with the impression that we were seeing the worst of us shown to the world, and a movie like this to be able to make me feel that way is marvelous. This movie just makes you simmer with rage, and that is a good thing for a movie to do, because in the end you want to change, you want to be different, and that’s something that happened and you can’t change it.

9/10

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