Journal of Romance Studies

Visual archives of loss and longing in Chile: Mi vida con Carlos by Germán Berger Hertz

Journal of Romance Studies (2013), 13, (3), 62–74.

Abstract

In this article, I will explore how contemporary Chilean documentary film, produced by a new generation of filmmakers, renders visible the need for redress and repair in the wake of the state-sponsored violence in Chile (1973–1990), as well as the desire to return to the lost revolutionary utopianism that characterized the period of the Allende years (1970–1973). I will focus specifically on the autobiographical documentary Mi vida con Carlos (2010) [My Life with Carlos] by Germán Berger-Hertz, a film that sets out to unravel the story of the filmmaker’s father who was executed on 19 October 1973 by the notorious ‘Caravan of Death’. Using this film as an example, I will consider how the discourse of nostalgia has the potential to shape valuable meanings from histories of repression and to contribute to a cultural continuity in opposition to the regime’s narratives of identity while remaining cautious of flat idealizations of a previous era. This research ultimately undermines dominant assumptions about nostalgia and raises new questions surrounding the ongoing tensions between loss and longing, despair and hope, past and future in the wake of state-sponsored violence in modern Chile.

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DiGiovanni, Lisa Renee