The Chilean Building in Cuba

Irina Echarry

The Chileans Building in Havana, Cuba

Reflection is unavoidable when the documentary ends.  The wounds don’t close easily, and the price paid has been high.  El edificio de los chilenos (The Chilean Building) in Cuba collects an important part of the history of Chile, as activists of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) decided to return to Chile clandestinely during the Pinochet dictatorship.

Responding to the demands of the women, “Proyecto Hogares” (Project Homes) was created as a plan so that fathers and mothers would be able to leave their children in Cuba with other activists so that they could return to struggle against the Pinochet forces.

Those boys and girls, along with the men and women caring for them and willing to support them in everything, would turn into “social families” that came to form in Cuba, specifically in the Alamar neighborhood on the east side of Havana.

Director Macarena Aguilo intended to make a cinematographic and emotional archive on the circumstance, retracing the route of pain and loneliness that the children and their parents experienced.

With great respectfulness, gentleness and perseverance, she goes in search of answers for us and for herself, since she was one of the sixty children who were separated from their families for years, though some were never again re-united.

This is a sentimental, but at the same time rugged journey, like the scolding of a mother who’s tender but maintains a firm attitude.  This is the sense we get from this exceedingly personal recollection that the author shares with us.

The contradiction between abandoning one’s children today so that they might live in a better country tomorrow stirs a host of emotions, and much sadness and regret.

This is a good documentary competing in this 32nd edition of the Festival of New Latin American Cinema that concludes on Sunday, December 12.

YouTube trailer of the documentary (in Spanish):