Friday, November 19, 2010
[as these films were all seen on cinema screens rather than DVD, screenshots are much harder to include. I'll stick to poster/cover images and trailers where possible]
One of my first films of the festival was the Chilean film-cum-documentary Huacho. I describe it as such because, the film is so very 'real-life' as to feel as if we are watching the reality of their existence - an idea only supported by the cast only being credited with a single name.
The basic premise of Huacho is that we enter into the world of one poor Chilean family, living in very rural setting, as they struggle on through their lives. The film takes place over the course of a day; the opening scene is breakfast; the closing scene is the family all heading off to bed. Between these scenes we follow each member of the family in turn.
It's a decidedly minimal venture in film making. There are scarcely any named characters outside of the central family and we're shown them in happiness and in sadness. What's crucial to the film - and what makes it so interesting - is apparent lack of agenda. Although their lives are certainly difficult and you could easily read all sorts of criticisms into it (rural-urban poverty gap etc) there is no escaping from the fact that, at the end of the day, each of them is smiling. This might not sound much, but in a film quite as subtle as this it certainly is. We are invited into their lives to see how they cope with a normal day; there is no heavy handed, dramatic plot-line that, by a stroke of luck, sees them all become rich and famous. Nor, to the other extreme, are we lead to believe that their existence is impossible or too miserable to cope with. Rather than either of these false creations, we see how people simply get on with life, even if it is hard.
Huacho is an incredibly sensitive film which takes us on a journey through lives we would otherwise not see and, thankfully, never uses them to make a point or send a message. It's not a thrilling watch but it's definitely worthwhile.
The only trailer I found is only in Spanish but it does give a sense of the film: