“Now Zurita —he got me out of there— since of only verse and tearing you could enter here, in our nightmares, can you tell me where my son is?”
– Raúl Zurita.
The documentary premiered in the Chilean Cineteca Nacional shows poetic actions of the writer and his most important performancing acts, in addition to exhibit personal passages of his life.
After knowing the death of the president Salvador Allende and of the bombing on Palacio de La Moneda, Raúl understood that the future will be unclear and dark. As dark as the inside of freighter “Maipo” in Valparaíso, vessel where he was imprisoned and tortured for more than twenty days and where he could barely watch the sunlight, and unclear as the bus stop of thousands of Chilean detained-disappeared people in dictatorship, among them friends and partner artists.
On September 11, 1973, he marked the life of the poet Raúl Zurita with fire and has not been able to stop writing since. Winner of the National Prize for Literature (2000), Zurita has explored different artistic expressions together with the Collective of Art Actions in Pinochet’s time and also individually, as poetic recitals about his verses or interventions in different spaces inside and outside the country.
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However, he thinks he can still do more. “If I have worked with stories of my life, I must also work with my disappearance,” he affirms in the first minutes of his autobiographical documentary “Zurita, verás no ver” (you’ll see not see in Spanish) by filmmaker Alejandra Carmona. The film reviews different moments in the life of the poet and his most memorable artistic actions, all related to the memory and horror of the human being.
The discovery of 21 bodies in the port of Pisagua in 1990 is the starting point of this cinematographic history. Two decades later, Raúl decided to project 22 phrases related to the Military Strike on the cliffs of the sector, a work cataloged by the artist himself as his last great project.
Suffering from a Parkinson’s disease for fifteen years, Zurita is not afraid to face his death and answers all the questions face to face before leaving. Carmona recorded the daily acts of the poet, along with visualizing memories of his youth and scenes from his present, as well as audiovisual exploration of the meanings of his works.
“And that is the basis of his film: showing an artist’s life that, by means of his piece, portrayed the most terrible of an age with the sole purpose of giving light “
Winner of the Audiovisual Fund 2015, , the film was premiered last Friday in the context of the Forum of Arts of the University of Chile with the presence of the director and the same Raul Zurita. On the tape, the poet is satisfied with the result and says that all the credit is for the director since he recognizes himself only as a subject who contributed with his experiences.
Regarding the contribution that art makes in humanity, and specifically his works, Zurita affirms that “art is made and written because one has not been happy. If we had been happy, existence would be one of the most beautiful poems. Art is a great compassion for those who come, to preserve them from the madness, from the suffering of the past, “he concludes.
Carmona thinks similar. “They have told us that we cannot do anything to change the world, that everything will remain the same, but it is up to us to act to do different things,” he says. And that is the basis of his film: to show the life of an artist who, through his work, captured the most terrible of an era with the sole purpose of giving light.
It’s ten o’clock at night and the Plaza de la Ciudadanía is full of families sitting on the grass, watching the Palacio de La Moneda. It is hard to believe that 45 years ago its walls and windows only represented pain and fear, and that now, under it, the story of a man debating these feelings through verses, in the same place that changed his life, was being told. Hidden several meters underground, Raúl concludes the day stating that “the task is not to write books or paint pictures, but, through them, build a decent world.”