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Cinema of Chile

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Title: Cinema of Chile  
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Subject: Latin American cinema, List of cinema of the world, Chile, Cinema of Odisha, Outline of Chile
Collection: Articles Containing Video Clips, Chilean Culture, Cinema of Chile, Latin American Cinema
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Cinema of Chile

Cinema of Chile
Number of screens 320 (2011)[1]
 • Per capita 2.0 per 100,000 (2011)[1]
Main distributors Andes Films 28.0%
UIP 22.0%
Warner 19.0%[2]
Produced feature films (2011)[3]
Fictional 13 (56.5%)
Animated -
Documentary 10 (43.5%)
Number of admissions (2011)[4]
Total 17,126,924
National films 904,625 (5.3%)
Gross Box Office (2011)[4]
Total CLP 49.3 billion
National films CLP 2.31 billion (4.7%)

The Cinema of Chile began at the start of the 20th century, with the first film in 1902 and the first feature film in 1910. The oldest surviving feature film is El Húsar de la Muerte (1925). The silent era ended with Patrullas de Avanzada (1931). The industry struggled in the late 1940s and in the 1950s, despite some box-office successes such as El Diamante de Maharajá. The 1960s saw the development of the "New Chilean Cinema", with films like Three Sad Tigers (1968), Jackal of Nahueltoro (1969) and Valparaíso, Mi Amor (1970). After the 1973 military coup film production was low, with many filmmakers working in exile. It increased after the end of the regime in 1989, with many critical successes, such as Johnny Cien Pesos (1993), Historias de Fútbol (1997) and Gringuito (1998). Box office success came in the late 1990s and early 2000s with films like El Chacotero Sentimental: la película (1999), Ángel Negro (2000) and Sexo con Amor (2003). In recent years, Chilean films have been regularly present at international film festivals and awards, with No (2012) becoming the first Chilean film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


  • History 1
    • Origins 1.1
    • The silent era 1.2
    • 1940s and 1950s 1.3
    • The “New Chilean Cinema” 1.4
    • Chilean cinema post-dictatorship 1.5
    • International awards since 2009 1.6
  • Well-known directors 2
  • Well-known actresses 3
  • Well-known actors 4
  • Major films 5
    • Fiction films 5.1
    • Documentaries 5.2
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9
    • General 9.1
    • Magazines 9.2
    • Production companies 9.3
    • Analyses 9.4



The origins of Chilean cinema can be traced back to the start of the twentieth century in the port city of Valparaíso, when the first film ever fully produced in Chile was launched at the Teatro ODEON on 26 May 1902.[5] The film, Ejercicio General del Cuerpo de Bomberos (General Practice of the Fire Department), was only three minutes long and showed the annual public show performed by the Valparaíso Fire Department in the city's Aníbal Plaza. Nothing is known of the film's director, cinematographer or production team, and only 27 seconds of footage remain today, held by the Catholic University of Valparaíso.[6]

The silent era

Film production boomed in Chile in the silent era, with 78 films released between 1910 and 1931. The first full-length film, Manuel Rodríguez, was released in 1910. Directed by Adolfo Urzúa, and starring Nicanor de la Sotta, it told the story of Manuel Rodríguez Erdoíza, who fought for Chile's independence from Spain until his death in 1818.[7]

Among the many Chilean directors who took up the art in this period – Salvatore Giambastini, Juan Pérez Berrocal, Jorge "Coke" Délano, Nicanor de la Sotta, Carlos Borcosque y Alberto Santana – one name in particular stands out for film historians: Pedro Sienna, a former stage actor who went on to direct and act in some of the best films of the age.[7] It was Sienna who wrote, directed and starred in the first Chilean feature-length film that has survived to this day, El Húsar de la Muerte (The Hussar of the Dead).

Premiered in Santiago on 24 November 1925, El Húsar de la Muerte – like Adolfo Urzúa's eponymous Manuel Rodríguez – tells the story of Manuel Rodríguez Erdoíza. The film was restored in 1962 by the University of Chile’s film archive, with a musical soundtrack by well-known Chilean composer and pianist Sergio Ortega. El Húsar de la Muerte was recently shown in the Treasures from the Archives category of the 2005 London Film Festival. Critic Carolina Robino described El Húsar de la Muerte in BBC Mundo as “an extremely refined film for its era. The visual imagery has an extraordinary richness. Sienna plays masterfully with the time-shifts, with the subjective view of the characters and with their thoughts. Without words, it tells an epic story with exquisite touches of humor and provides an accurate description of Chilean colonial society.”[8]

The last silent movie produced in Chile was Patrullas de Avanzada (Advanced Patrol), directed by Eric Page and released in 1931.[7]

1940s and 1950s

In 1942, the Chilean Production Development Corporation (Spanish: "Corporación de Fomento de la Producción" or CORFO) created the Chile Films project, which provided filmmakers with technical resources and supported the Chilean film industry. Despite this, the industry began to struggle in the late 1940s with some studios experiencing financial difficulties. Large sums of money were spent on cinematic “super-productions” to attract foreign directors, but most failed to make a profit.[7] One film which did buck the trend, however, was adventure-comedy El Diamante de Maharajá (The Maharaja Diamond), starring comedian Lucho Córdoba, which was a box-office hit.

The low-output trend continued into the 1950s, with only 13 films released in Chile over the course of the decade. Towards the end of the 50s, however, two films appeared which gave a taste of the new wave of socially conscious cinema that would sweep Chile in the 1960s: Naum Kramarenko's Tres miradas a la calle (Three Views of the Street, 1957) and Deja que los perros ladren (Let the Dogs Bark, 1961).[7]

The “New Chilean Cinema”

In the 1960s, a vibrant national film culture developed which came to be known as the "New Chilean Cinema" (Spanish: Nuevo Cine Chileno). An experimental film department was founded at the University of Chile, along with a Film Institute at the Catholic University of Chile. The industry also received support from the revitalised Chile Films project which had begun in the 1940s.[9] During this period, young directors such as Raúl Ruiz, Patricio Guzmán, Aldo Francia and Miguel Littín emerged, along with a new genre inspired by social and political currents on the 1960s, the documentary.[7]

The first ever "Festival del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano" (New Latin American Film Festival), took place in Viña del Mar in 1967. Shortly afterwards some of the most important films from the New Chilean Cinema period were released: Tres Tristes Tigres (Three Sad Tigers, 1968) by Raúl Ruiz; Valparaíso, Mi Amor (Valparaíso, My Love, 1970) by Aldo Francia and El Chacal de Nahueltoro (Jackal of Nahueltoro, 1970) by Miguel Littín.[7]

Politics was a key theme for Chilean cinema in the 1960s and beyond, as it was for similar movements in other South American countries (the Cinema Novo of Brazil and the Nueva Cinema of Argentina) and for Chilean movements in other fields of the arts, such as the Nueva Canción Chilena (New Chilean Song). “This left-wing Chilean filmmakers’ movement cannot be understood without connecting it to the emerging social and political identity of the American continent,” states the Chilean cultural website MemoriaChilena.[10]

The 1973 military coup drove many filmmakers abroad, where they continued to make films reflecting on and criticising the Chilean military government under Augusto Pinochet. MemoriaChilena says: “The premises of the Nuevo Cine did not die with the massive exile of filmmakers. Instead they were reinterpreted in the cinema of exile as protest against the repression under the military regime or expressing nostalgia for the shattered revolution.” Some of the best-known of the 1970s include The Promised Land by Miguel Littín and The Battle of Chile by Patricio Gúzman.[10]

Chilean cinema post-dictatorship

Film production within Chile was relatively low throughout the military regime, with most filmmakers working in exile, but began to increase again when the regime ended in 1989. In 1992, the Fondart national art fund was established which would go on to support some 90% of Chilean feature-length films made since its creation. Although many films released in the late 1980s and early 1990s received both public and critical acclaim, including Johnny Cien Pesos (Hundred Peso Johnny, 1993) by Gustavo Graef-Marino; Historias de Fútbol (Soccer Stories, 1997) the debut film from Andrés Wood and Gringuito (1998) by Sergio Castilla, Chilean movies struggled to compete with international films for audience numbers.[7]

The next decade saw this trend begin to change. The more commercial 1999 release Coronación (Coronation, 2000) won prizes at the Montreal, Huelva, Cartagena and Havana film festivals; Andrés Wood's La Fiebre del Loco (Abalone Fever, 2001) won at Cartagena and Lleida; and Taxi Para Tres (Taxi For Three, 2001) by Orlando Lübbert won at Cartagena, Havana, Mar del Plata, Miami and San Sebastián.[7]

International awards since 2009

In recent years, Chilean films have become a regular presence at international film festivals worldwide. Sebastián Silva's 2009 film The Maid won both the World Cinema: Dramatic award at Sundance in 2009 and a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010. In 2010, Patricio Guzmán's documentary Nostalgia for the Light debuted as part of the official selection at the Cannes Film Festival and went to appear at Toronto International Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, Miami International Film Festival and Melbourne International Film Festival. In 2012, the films Violeta Went to Heaven, by Andrés Wood, and Young and Wild, by Mariely Rivas, made Chilean film history by both taking home awards at Sundance.[11] In 2013, Chile received its first ever Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Picture with Pablo Larraín's No.

Well-known directors

Well-known actresses

Well-known actors

Major films

Fiction films


See also


  1. ^ a b "Table 8: Cinema Infrastructure - Capacity". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Table 6: Share of Top 3 distributors (Excel)". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Table 1: Feature Film Production - Genre/Method of Shooting". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Table 11: Exhibition - Admissions & Gross Box Office (GBO)". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Re-visión del Cine Chileno, Alicia Vega, p.204. Link to e-book on Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  6. ^ Ejercicio General del Cuerpo de Bomberos Cine Chile: Enciclopedia del Cine Chileno. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Historia del Cine Chileno (website of El Mercurio newspaper). Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  8. ^ Obsesionado con el húsar Carolina Robino, BBC Mundo, 24 October 2005. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  9. ^ Antonella Estévez y las transformaciones del Cine Chileno en ARTV Radio Universidad Chile website, 11 May 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  10. ^ a b Nuevo Cine Chileno Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  11. ^ "Violeta" y "Joven y alocada" marcan histórico triunfo del cine chileno en Sundance (website of El Mercurio newspaper), 29 January 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2013.


  • (English) Michael Chanan (under the direction of), Chilean Cinema, Londres, British Film Institute, 1976, 102 p. ISBN 0-85170-058-6
  • (English) James Cosneros, "The Figure of Memory in Chilean Cinema: Patricio Guzmán and Raúl Ruiz," Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, vol. 15, no. 1, March 2006, p. 59-75.
  • (Spanish) Eliana Jara Donoso, Cine mudo chileno, Los Héroes/Fondo de Desarrollo de la Cultura y las Artes, Ministerio de Educación, Ceneca, Tevecorp., 1994, ISBN 956-272-024-1
  • (Spanish) Julio López Navarro, Películas chilenas, Editorial La Noria, 1994.
  • (Spanish) Jacqueline Mouesca, Plano secuencia de la memoria de Chile: venticincoãnos de cine chileno (1960–1985), Madrid, Ediciones del litoral, 1988, 207 p ISBN 84-85594-21-5
  • (French) Nicolas Azalbert, "Nouveaux espoirs chiliens," Cahiers du cinéma, nº 604, September 2005, p. 60; 62.
  • (French) Collectif, Le Cinéma latino-américain, Éd. Iris, 1991, 162 p.
  • (French) Hans Ehrmann, "Le Cinéma de l'Unité Populaire – Bilan d'une expérience," Écran no. 22, p. 14.
  • (French) Jean-Paul Fargier, "Eternel Chili," Cahiers du cinéma, no. 379, January 1986, p. XII-XIII.
  • (French) Carlos Forastero, "Chili: la traversée du désert," Écran no. 72 p. 13.
  • (French) Guy Hennebelle, Alfonso Gumucio-Dagmón, et al., Les Cinémas de l'Amérique latine, Éd. Lherminier, 1981, 544 p.
  • (French) Pierre Kast, "Situation du cinéma chilien," Cinéma no. 164, March 1972, p. 72.
  • (French) Françoise Le Pennec, "Cinéma du Chili, en exil ou sur place," Cinéma no. 290, p. 54.
  • (French) Eric Le Roy, review of book by Eliana Jara Donoso, Cine mudo chileno, revue 1895 no. 19, p. 96.
  • (French) Paulo Antonio Paranagua, Le Cinéma en Amérique latine: le miroir éclaté, Éd. L'Harmattan, 2000, 288 p.
  • (French) Paulo Antonio Paranagua, "Chili" (an association of friends of Chilean cinema), Positif no. 240, March 1981, p. 61.
  • (French) Paulo Antonio Paranagua, review of book by Alicia Vega, Re-visión del cine chileno, Positif n° 250, January 1982, p. 91.
  • (French) Paulo Antonio Paranagua, "Chili, impressions," Positif no. 372, February 1992, p. 18.
  • (French) Zuzana Mirjam Pick, "Le Cinéma chilien sous le signe de l'union populaire 1970–1973," Positif no. 155, January 1974, p. 35.
  • (French) Francis Saint-Dizier, Cinémas d'Amérique latine n° 6: les historiens du cinéma en Amérique latine, Toulouse, Presses universitaires du Mirail, 1998, 185 p.
  • (French) Francis Saint-Dizier, Cinémas d'Amérique latine n° 7: cinémas latino-américains des années 90, Toulouse, Presses universitaires du Mirail, 1999, 182 p. ISBN 2-85816-447-9
  • (French) Francis Saint-Dizier, Esther Saint-Dizier, Cinémas d'Amérique latine n° 8: cinéma et musique, Toulouse, Presses universitaires du Mirail, 2000, 182 p. ISBN 2-85816-506-8
  • (French) "Chili: les années du 'cinéma noir,'" Cinéma no. 461, November 1981, p. 5.

External links


  • (Spanish) El cine chileno en sus libros. Breve panorama histórico (aperçu historique par David Vásquez, de l'Université Diego Portales de Santiago)
  • (Spanish) Cinemateca virtual de Chile (site du Conseil national de la culture et des arts)
  • (French) « Le cinéma chilien : un pari sur le hasard » (article d'Alicia Vega, 13ème Festival des 3 continents, novembre 1991)


  • Mabuse
  • Voraz (magazine of the school of cinema of Chile)
  • La Fuga
  • Fuera de Campo
  • Analízame
  • Racontto
  • Civil Cinema
  • Bifurcaciones (magazine of urban cultural studies)

Production companies

  • Maria Films (film and television)
  • Roos Film (film and television)
  • Sobras (film and online magazine)
  • Risas & Risas (film and television)


  • (Spanish) PlayInterview d'Alicia Scherson, director of (Ricardo Greene, "Conversación con Alicia Scherson: La ciudad y las alcachofas," Bifurcaciones no. 4, Spring 2005, ISSN 0718-1132)
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