Very pleased to share the news that my new film, ‘Interrupted Memory / Memoria interrumpida’, will receive its world premiere at the Havana International Film Festival, 5-15 December 2013, where I will also be participating in a panel discussion on contemporary documentary.
Come to a preview screening at the University of Roehampton on Wednesday 4th December (Duchesne Lecture Theatre, 4.30pm).
Check out www.mchanan.com/interrupted-memory for information and a teaser (or below).
Musical and Other Cultural Responses to Political Violence in Latin America
A really interesting one-day conference in Manchester on 6 December – and not just because I’ll be screening an extract from ‘Interrupted Memory‘.
Saturday 23rd November, Centre of Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge (advance registration required).
Includes the first screening of my new video, ‘Chile: Divided Generations’ – a study of the politics of memory in Chile, extracted from a longer film, Interrupted Memory, on memory and politics in Argentina and Chile, coming soon.
Here’s a teaser for Interrupted Memory :
Interrupted Memory is the title of the film I’ve been shooting over the last three months in Argentina and Chile, a documentary about memory and politics which follows the course of people in the act of remembering in front of the camera. Asked about their earliest political memories, people recollect incidents and recount experiences from childhood and youth often figuring popular militancy and rebellion, military coups and the state violence and repression which followed. In Argentina, an old trade unionist remembers a factory occupation; 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. The oldest contributor is over eighty, the youngest are students occupying a high school in Santiago.
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 the archives that play off against the spoken word. In short, the film constructs a possible version of lived political experience, of collective living memory, which emulates the condition Gilles Deleuze found in films by Jean Rouch and Pierre Perrault, where the stories people tell, he said, 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 leave traces that remain ineffable, beyond expression—or because some things are put aside as politically inconvenient or incorrect.
Interrupted Memory is currently in post-production. Filmed in Argentina and Chile, May-July 2013, it will run about 120mns. Made with support from IRSES/TRANSIT, British Academy, Santander Fund at the University of Roehampton.
This is a revised version, incorporating feedback received.
At the beginning of July, the EICTV, Cuba’s world renowned film school at San Antonio de los Baños was hit by a bombshell when the current director, the Guatemalan Rafael Rosal, announced his resignation, following revelations about corruption involving illicit sales of beer. Three members of the school’s workforce were arrested, but there’s no evidence that Rosal personally benefitted. According to Rosal himself, speaking to me in Havana before leaving for England with his English wife and children, he had been obliged to resign as a scapegoat for a practice that had been going on for at least fifteen years, and which had reached the point where it was heavily subsidising the school’s operation, which costs US$1.4m a year. No small beer. He didn’t mention to me that he was asked to resign by the student body.
It doesn’t only happen in Turkey. Yesterday, while filming in Santiago, I had my first experience of tear gas. I went to film the latest student protest march against the heavily privatised education system which is a heritage of the neoliberal policies of the Pinochet dictatorship. I filmed far more than I needed, because it was huge and very impressive (it took 75 minutes to pass the National Library where I was stationed) with all the expectable banners, drumming, bands, and dancing, and perfectly peaceful, following the pattern established a couple of years ago when the protest movement began. Continue reading
Here’s the video of the Q&A after the DocHouse screening of ‘Secret City’ at the Riverside last May
The following interview, done by email, originally appeared on EvoLLLution.
1. Would you say higher education is a commodity, or not?
Absolutely not; and not just higher education, but education at any and every level. Education is a process of human interaction, whose efficacy depends on a variety of subjective factors. Why did I choose this subject? Does the teacher stimulate my interest — or imagination? Do I enjoy teaching, or has it become a chore? None of these things can be quantified (except by means of unscientific questionnaires), and if they can’t be quantified, any price that is put on them is quite arbitrary. Continue reading
Here is a photograph of two Guevaras. With the death of Alfredo Guevara, the one on the right, at the age of 87, who was no relation to the Guevara on the left, Cuban cinema has lost its great champion. Alfredo was the founder of the Cuban film institute, the ICAIC, which was set up in 1959 just three months after the overthrow of the dictator Batista by the rebels led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. A kind of Cuban John Grierson, Alfredo similarly had no difficulty in combining cinema and political commitment, but he had the advantage over the Scots pioneer of documentary that his backer was not a senior civil servant in a bourgeois democracy, but the leader of a popular revolution who had been his friend since student days. Continue reading