My Imaginary Country” conveys a story of brutal war through a lens of love and human connection. Patricio Guzmán has an extensive repertoire for producing films of a high calibre centred around Chilean conflict, and this film is an impressive addition to his accolade. It is narrated by Guzmán, but he has made an obvious decision to keep himself as the background, choosing instead to shine a light on the women who fought this battle. Interspersed throughout the interviews in this film is frontline footage of the fighting and jaw dropping shots of the beautiful country which really help you understand just what they are fighting for.
We follow the story of a revolution starting in October 2019, when the Chilean government decided to raise the subway fare by 30 pesos. Like the straw that broke the camels back, they were met with an outcry of rage from the youth of Chile. They kicked down turnstiles, they refused to pay, and they screamed at the top of their voices. They made it clear that they would not stand for injustice any longer, and they were met with unconditional love and support by their elders. All but the government, who chose to respond with military enforcement. And so, the tone was set for the rest of the documentary.
This documentary deeply humbled me. Mónica González, one of the powerful women interviewed said “There are flames that consume and flames that nourish”. When tanks and tear gas threatened the people of Chile they took hammers to the pavement for ammunition and pulled together in the deepest expression of community I have ever witnessed. They faced guns with stones and rocks. The most awe inducing aspect of this film is that we generally associate war with death and loss, but this film is filled with energy, love and life. They use the symbol of fire both literally and metaphorically throughout this film, from the burning in the streets to the burning in their souls, when you fight with love, you fight until the end. They decided that something had to change or else they would burn it all to the ground.
We should all be deeply grateful someone honoured these heroic women and fighters, for without passionate people such as these, the world would be a corrupt, unbearable place. Their courage and bravery should be deeply honoured and commended long into the future. This film is an excellent start in preserving that.
This film is worth seeing for multiple reasons. If not for the imagery, then for the wisdom. In this busy world where we often focus on ourselves, take just 83 minutes to honour years of dedication to a worthwhile cause.
Leone Fiorito Wright
- DATE: October 26, 2022
- WRITERS: Doris Dörrie, Madeleine Fricke, Karin Kaci
- DIRECTOR: Patricio Guzmán
- STARRING: Patricio Guzmán