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