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The Region

Felipe Palma
Chile, 2015, 76 min.

In Spanish with English subtitles.
This film is family friendly.

Observational documentary set in the desert regions of the copper mining industry in Northern Chile. The film delves into a yearly festival following three separate families of Andean origins who live and work in one of its most extreme mining cities. We watch them travel into the inner mountains, where they populate this ancient festival with fantastical beings of their own creation. Through dance, music and customs, these people transport themselves into a different spiritual dimension, in an effort to deal with their changing surroundings. Told through a combination of observational footage, dream sequences and archive, it delves into the relationship between Chile's enormous mining extraction and the families whose culture has inevitably been shaped by these forces. The main body of the film works as a journey from the heart of the copper production to a sacred village in the Andes Mountains, all of which takes place on the backdrop of an overwhelming natural landscape.

Director's Statement

Felipe Palma (Santiago de Chile, 1981) is a current PhD in Visual Sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Through the past few years he has been inquiring on how to challenge the range of sociological outcomes, opening them to broader materialities and construction procedures. In this quest, and relying on his undergraduate studies on fine arts, filmmaking has became a central tool, though not exclusive, in his research practices. To open sociological outcomes to the use of such materialities is to experiment on new ways to translate the social world, challenging both their rhetoric features and circulation possibilities. In this context, the documentary project The Region is an empirical attempt to achieve such task, proposing the translation of the socio-geographic area of the Atacama Desert into the parameters of filmmaking. The project's structure was framed within sociological methodologies and its aesthetic features are rooted in the practices, material objects and social dynamics found in the area after extended ethnographic fieldwork.

Category: Documentary.
Themes: Community, Culture, Environment, World Cinema, Indigenous.

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