Filmmaking and commitment

Miguel Littin

Nominated for the Oscar and the Cannes International Film Festival twice, Littin is the maker of Chilean film classics.

Saturday, August 22, 2009  

Other languages

The descendent of Arabian and Greek immigrants, Miguel Littin Cucumides was born August 9, 1942 in Palmilla, in the rural zone of Colchagua in southern Chile. He studied theater at the University of Chile starting off as a playwright and theater director before going on to become a filmmaker. He was also a television director.

He started his filmmaking career in 1969 with “El chacal de Nahueltoro” (The Jackal of Nahueltoro), a film denouncing the legal system and social marginality in the country. The film was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 1970 Berlin International Film Festival.

During the Allende administration, in 1971 Littin was appointed general manager of Chilefilms, the state-owned film company. He filmed documentaries about the political process at the time and filmed “La tierra prometida” (The Promised Land), which had to be completed and premiered in exile due to the 1973 military coup. As a refugee, Littin first settled in Mexico and then in Spain. Based on his illegal return to Chile in 1985, where he filmed material for a documentary on life under dictatorship, Gabriel García Márquez published the book “Las aventuras de Miguel
Littín clandestino en Chile” (Clandestine in Chile:  the Adventures of Miguel Littin).

In addition to the acclaimed “Chacal de Nahueltoro” and the documentary “Compañero Presidente”, his wide range of films include movies filmed overseas. These include “Actas de Marusia” (Mexico, 1976), “El recurso del método (Cuba, 1978), “Alsino y el cóndor” (Nicaragua-Mexico-Costa Rica, 1982), “Sandino” (Nicaragua, 1990) and others. After the military regime ended, he came back to Chile and filmed “Los náufragos” (The Shipwrecked) (Chile, 1994), “Tierra del fuego” (Spain, 2000), “Crónicas palestinas” (Palestinian Chronicles) (2001),  and La Última Luna (The Last Moon) (2005), among others. His most recent film is “Isla 10”, based on the  Dawson Island political prison under the military dictatorship.

His awards include the Mexican Ariel Award for best director. In addition, he has been nominated twice at the Cannes International Film Festival and twice for the Oscar: “Actas de Marusia” for Best Foreign Film in 1976 and “Alsino y el cóndor” as Best Foreign Film in 1983. He has won important awards at film festivals in Moscow, Cartagena, Huelva, Venecia, among others, indicating that Miguel Littin is a world-class filmmaker.