September 24, 2015

Film Review, You Never Know What You Are Filming: Art, Mentorship, and States of Siege by Krisiti M. Wilson

:::::: Film Review ::::::

“You Never Know What You Are Filming”
Art, Mentorship, and States of Siege
by Kristi M. Wilson

Miguel Ángel Vidaurre, Marker ’72: Cartography of a Faceless Filmmaker. Chile, 2012

Marker ’72: Cartography of a Faceless Filmmaker, produced by Factoría Espectra, is an essay-style documentary about the groundbreaking French filmmaker Chris Marker’s encounter with Salvador Allende’s Chile in 1972, his subsequent mentorship of Chilean director Patricio Guzmán (The Battle of Chile), and his impact on the Chilean film community after the military coup of 1973. A legendary recluse and the director of enigmatic film classics such as La Jetée (1962), A Grin Without a Cat (1977), Sans Soleil (1983), and AK (1985), Marker arrived in Chile as part of the production team for the filming of Costa-Gavras’s political thriller State of Siege. According to Guzmán, in spite of the fact that State of Siege turned out to be one of the largest film productions in Chilean history, Marker had not come to film anything with Costa-Gavras; “he just wanted to see Chile.”

Allende’s victory brought well-known people from around the world to Chile. As the documentary filmmaker and director of the Chilean School of Cinema Carlos Flores jokingly suggests in the film, Chile saw an influx of all types of people, from well-known hippies to CIA agents. Marker ’72 features an impressive array of archival footage, including excerpts from Allende’s final speeches. A particularly memorable archival sequence features two foreigners who went to Chile in sympathy with Allende’s movement. Dean Reed, a North American musician known as “El Elvis Rojo” (Red Elvis), is shown performing to large crowds, followed by television footage of an interview in which he says, “It was here in South America, in Chile, that I first saw the enormous injustices that exist. A …

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Latin American Perspectives
September 2015 vol. 42 no. 5 269-271

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