Interrupted Memory

version español: Memoria interrumpida



A documentary about memory and politics in Argentina and Chile

Premiere in Havana
Interrupted Memory premieres in the PANORAMA DOCUMENTAL at the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, Havana 5-15 December 2013

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Interrupted Memory is a documentary about memory and politics in Argentina and Chile, shot in Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Santiago in the southern autumn of 2013, which follows the course of people of different generations in the act of remembering in front of the camera. Asked about their earliest political memories, people recollect incidents and experiences from childhood and youth which frequently figure demonstrations, popular militancy, rebellion, and military coups. Recalling salient episodes in their political experience, their memories also testify to histories of state terrorism and repression. In Argentina, an old trade unionist remembers a factory occupation which landed him in prison; a woman speaks about being kidnapped by state intelligence at the age of seventeen; another of spending seven years as a political prisoner; a father and son tell the story of the other son who disappeared. In Chile, a woman remembers her Communist father being released from concentration camp in 1949, people remember the military coup of 1973 at different ages, and younger ones remember discovering they were living in a dictatorship. A psychologist in Chile and a psychoanalyst in Buenos Aires speak of psychoanalysis under dictatorship.

The remembered experiences shape a collective narration of history in the two countries from a range of different angles, whose traces are also found in clips from the archives which play off against the spoken word. In short, the film constructs a possible version of lived political experience, of collective living memory, in which, to borrow a phrase from Gilles Deleuze, people tell stories that are never fictional. It concludes with reflections on the politics of memory, and the lacunae of today’s official discourses of human rights in the two countries, either because trauma, both social and individual, always leaves traces that remain ineffable, beyond expression—or because some things are put aside as politically inconvenient and incorrect.

“Interrupted Memory presents an incredibly rich array of testimonies and reflections. The film responds very effectively to the call among many intellectuals and artists in both countries for a greater diversification in memories of the dictatorship, and it also demonstrates very clearly how much is yet to be addressed and spoken about openly.”
Joanna Page, University of Cambridge

‘Fascinating, moving, shocking, and brilliantly told.’
Paul O’Prey, University of Roehampton


With support fromapoyo


Secret City

A film about the City of London, the Corporation that governs it, and its role in the economic crisis. 

Directed by Michael Chanan – Written by Lee Salter

On 15 October 2011 anti-capitalist protestors, intending to set up camp in front of the London Stock Exchange in Paternoster Square under the banner of Occupy LSX, were ejected from the square and parked themselves instead in front of St Paul’s Cathedral. The result was one of the starting points for this film: a highly public debate about capitalism and the Church.

But there was also another power acting in the shadows to eventually eject the Occupiers – the City of London Corporation. An ancient body which dates back before William the Conqueror, before there was a parliament in Westminster, which zealously guards its autonomy and privileges to this day.

This is the subject of Secret City: a state within a state, with deleterious effects on democracy, politics and economics in London, the country, and the world, for the City is the linchpin of global finance capital. In short, not just a film for Londoners—especially in these times of crisis, the role of the City concerns everyone everywhere.

Secret City had its premiere on October 16, 2012 at the House of Commons.

Available on DVD and streaming from E2 Films


A Short Film About Money

Won’t solve your money problems, but it might make you think about why you’ve got them. ‘A Short Film About Money’ is a spin-off from a longer film I’ve been making with Lee Salter, ‘Secret City’, which launches soon.

‘Secret City’ is an investigation into the Corporation of the City of London which governs the famous square mile that serves as joint-HQ with Wall Street for global finance capital. We originally thought we might include a sequence about the illusions of money, but in the end left it out, so instead we fashioned the footage we’d collected into the satirical short you can see here.

Watch the trailer for Secret City here.


Three Short Films About Chile

Three Short Films About Chile

A trilogy by Michael Chanan made on a visit to Chile in November 2011.

1. Homage ・ 2. Community ・ 3. Protest
2012, 34mns 

Three glimpses of Chile in 2011. Homage is a visit to Valparaiso. Community is a portrait of
Población La Victoria and its community television station, Señal 3. Protest is an account
of the momentous student protest movement—the occupations, marches, demonstrations,
street actions and web activism—and its tremendous impact on the country’s political life,
as they denounce the most intensely privatised education system in the world, demand the
return of free public education, and question the legitimacy of actually existing democracy in Chile.

Watch the original version of Protest on the New Statesman here




Chronicle of Protest: the film


(UK 2011) dir. Michael Chanan 90m. Digital.

A video diary about the movement against
government spending cuts in the universities and beyond
with students, activists and citizens of the real big society.

Featuring Terryl Bacon, Terry Eagleton, Mehdi Hasan, Joe Kelleher, Josie Long,
Len McCluskey, Blake Morrison, Paul O’Prey, Nina Power, Michael Rosen,
Lee Salter, Clifford Singer, Sly and Reggie, Mary Warnock and more.

With songs by Banner Theatre.

In collaboration with the New Statesman and Roehampton University.

Premiered Sat 30 April 2011 • East End Film Festival


Short Videos

‘The Writing on the Wall is on the Web’
Netroots UK, 8 January 2011 ‧ original version

Turner Prize Teach-In
Tate Britain, 6 December 2010
‧ original version

The Buzz in Buenos Aires
Student occupationsSeptember 2010
(also see
Putney Debater)

Follas Novas
Portrait of a bookshop in Santiago de Compostela (3mns)

O Wonderful Photo
Video diary of a workshop in phototherapy in Lucca, Italy, in March 2010, led by Carmine Parrella

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