EL VALS DE LOS INÚTILES

THE WALTZ

By Edison CÁJAS

MALTRATO FILMS - as PROD

Documentary - Completed 2013

The student mobilization in Chile is narrated by means of the account of two parallel stories. An
adolescent, immerse in the political atmosphere of his school and an ex prisoner of Pinochet’s
dictatorship, will find the meaning of their own history in the mobilization.

Festivals
& Awards

Ventana Sur 2013
Video Library
    • Year of production
    • 2013
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • CHILE, ARGENTINA
    • Languages
    • SPANISH
    • Duration
    • 80 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Edison CÁJAS
    • Producer(s)
    • Catalina DONOSO (Cusicanqui Films), Natalia DE LA VEGA (La pata de Juana)
    • Synopsis
    • Dario is a 17 year-old student of the Instituto Nacional, the oldest and most emblematic school in Chile. He has just failed his course due to the school occupation he and other schoolmates held for more than seven months to protest for the profit in education.
      Miguel Angel is a 58-year-old successful man, dedicated to promote and teach tennis throughout Latin America with classes given to poor children in small villages across the
      continent. In 1979, as a member of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR), he was abducted by security agencies of Pinochet dictatorship, subjected to cruel tortures and detained for more than six months at thepenitentiary in Santiago.
      As a consequence of the social mobilization that occurs in the country in 2011, Dario and Miguel Angel begin to experience an inner transformation that takes them to reconsider their
      present.
      In his school, Dario takes more and more time in meetings and assemblies that slowly begin to decide the future of the student mobilization. He's becoming a man with a social conscience,
      which signifies a deep crisis that makes him think about his future and destiny as a college student. In parallel, Miguel Angel discovers a series of photographs of his youth that lead him to think on and remember his past during the government of Salvador Allende and his subsequent kidnapping by security agencies during Pinochet dictatorship. He is now in a completely different situation. He is a petty bourgeois and, apart from his wife, nobody knows nothing about his past. The photographs and the social mobilization that seems to be about to explode, begin to work as a personal revolution in him.
      As a backdrop, street protests increase due to the discontent with university fees and inequality between public and private schools, until one of the most important social movements since 1988, when democracy returned to the country, breaks out in the Chilean winter.
      As a protest for the education model and the neoliberal politics that have students owing millions, Dario and Miguel Angel, along with thousands of people, decide to demonstrate in the
      streets spontaneously running a marathon around the government palace La Moneda. A black flag with the words "Free and Quality Education Now", which is wielded by each runner, will not stop flaming for almost three continuous months. This marathon will become one of the strongest civil expressions of rejection of the neoliberal model implemented by the dictatorship and a symbol of the strength of the student movement to which thousands of people, who are displaced by the economic model, adhere.
      With the social unrest in the background, the stories of our characters become a symbol of two divided generations that now seem to reunite in the idea of a more just society. One is a
      teenager who is becoming an adult and the other a mature man who recognizes his own past of struggle and frustrated ideals in the youth. Dario and Miguel Angel are transformed by what
      they see and listen on the news, so that they start experiencing a change in their way of seeing the things that affect them. This is an initiator film in many ways. It’s about becoming a man, it’s about transforming pain to forgive and understand. It’s about a country that is also changing though nobody knows with certainty where to. The documentary includes this rare and tense atmosphere to tell the stories of two Chileans immersed in an evaluation process of all that
      surrounds them.
      The marathon, named "1800 hours for Education" deeply mark our characters. Dario helps his peers to occupy the school where he studies, remaining for more than seven months within the establishment. Miguel Angel increasingly feels the need to expunge his guilt through forgiveness and personal growth. One day, he decides to tell the experience he had thirty years ago to his daughter, settling with her and all his generation a debt he kept as a secret for a long time.
      Finally, mobilization declines and as it usually happens, the politicians and the governmentnegotiate a more media-friendly solution then an effective ending. Students return to classes as
      normal and Miguel Angel does not watch the news to learn about the latest protest anymore.
      The winter of the Chilean revolution has given way to a rather quiet and dull spring and summer.
      The media report the ending of schools occupations and the returning to a zero point. But something has sprouted in our characters. They are not the same anymore. Perhaps the seed these Chileans have planted does not germinate today or tomorrow, but something has been transformed in their interior. The Waltz tells about this personal process.
      Through their stories we will discover a country broken by the dictatorship, half rebuilt and where sequels and old wounds from the past have not healed completely. It's a documentary
      about maturation: of bodies, of ideas, of a society and a country that slowly begins to awaken.
      With them we will reflect on the fears and dreams of Chileans, reflecting two different generations, amid the social upheaval of a country that did not express that way since the end of the dictatorship. And finally, the remaining questions are: What is the country we have built?
      How do we grow and overcome our sins? What defines us as Chileans? What sufferings and humiliations have been through this country to become what we are?
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