Chilean filmmakers gain warm reception at Toronto Film Festival

Canada’s biggest film festival wrapped up this week, and five films flew the flag for Chile, including the critically acclaimed ‘No’ and ‘Night Across the Street.’

Chile’s thriving film industry was on display in full force at this year’s prestigious Toronto Film Festival. Three Chilean films made the screen list, two films with Chilean co-producers were also shown, and a delegation of 11 members from Chile’s audiovisual industry walked the red carpet.
Director Pablo Larraín’s dictatorship era film No” opened to a packed theater at the Special Presentations screening, and the movie’s star performer Gael García Bernal was in attendance.
The film is the third installment in Larraín’s loose trilogy on Chile during the 1970s and 1980s, and has gained much praise for its production style. Larraín took up the challenge of shooting on a vintage 1980s camera, resulting in visually intriguing footage that ebbs and flows seamlessly through the extensive tracts of archival video.
La Noche de Enfrente (Night Across the Street) perhaps raised the most eyebrows. A posthumous release from enigmatic Chilean filmmaker Raúl Ruiz, the film has proved impenetrable to some, and a work of abstract genius to others.
Using Chilean writer Hernán del Solar as his muse, Ruiz journeys across mid 20th century Santiago, exploring the themes of death and memory and their entanglement with time. Like much in the director’s vast collection, answers are hard to come by but questions are poignant and harrowing.
The Midnight Express audience at the festival were entertained by “Aftershock,” a horror/disaster flick from Chilean director Nicolás López and co-writer Eli Roth (of “Hostel” fame).
Not for the faint hearted, the film combines Roth’s lust for gore and López’s experiences in the Chilean port town of Valparaíso in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck Chile in 2010.
Of López, one critic in Canada said, “International audiences could be seeing the birth of a new horror talent.”
Elsewhere, the film Tres (Three) by Pablo Stoll and Chilean post-production firm Kiné was on show, as well as Polvo (Dust) by Julio Hernández Cordón and co-producers from Guatemala, Spain, Germany, and Chile.