Leading Chilean producer-director Matías Cardone of Invercine Producciones and “My Last Round” director Julio Jorquera have teamed on the time capsule documentary “Real Time,” screening in this year’s online Sanfic Industria Work in Progress sidebar.
“Real Time” starts with a long-lost VHS of an artistic performance in Chile’s turbulent 1980s, featuring Patricia Rivadeneira and Vicente Ruiz, exponents of the Chilean counterculture during Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship. Nearly four decades later, the two set out, with help from Cardone and Jorquera, to reconnect with old friends and remember old stories which explore their own personal past . In modern-day interviews, the film forces its subjects to question their often enduring roles as transgressive artists against an oppressive system.
Cardone spoke to Variety about the origins of “Real Time,” the international appeal of political performance art and what role artists play in times of political upheaval.
What was your relationship with Patricia and Vicente before making this film and how did this journey of reconnection arise?
Through art and passion, a group of young people, led by Vicente Ruiz, seeks to exercise freedom. This desire for freedom is even more intense in a context of oppression as is the military dictatorship in Chile during the 1980s. Desire and creation is the vital and concentrated source of energy that allows us to get out of prison and transmute pain as a product of a political scenario in which death prevails. I met Vicente Ruiz through Patricia Rivadeneira. Patricia is a well-known actress in Chile whom we worked with on a TV series. It was Patricia, who sowed the first seed, and it is she who challenged me to make this story of love and art in dictatorship. Patricia saw my previous work on the artist Gordon Matta-Clark and invited me and my co-director Julio Jorquera to head this documentary.
How hard was it to locate the people you spoke to for the movie?
The people of this era, the main ones, are almost all alive and live in Chile, some in London, and they were all thrilled this movie was being made. Next year we collectively intend to do an exhibition of visual art from the ‘80s called ANDER and Counterculture at the National Museum of Fine Arts of Chile. We have won a public grant and are working to create a 180-degree project.
This film is a wonderful look at the role culture plays in times of upheaval: Theater, dance, music and art occupy important places in the story of “Real Time.” I wonder, in an era like Chile is experiencing now, how do you see your role as an artist and as a creator of cultural work?
It’s no coincidence that Vicente performed in tragedies, because we lived a tragedy in the ‘80s. In our eyes it was inevitable and therefore there was a constant desire, a pulse, to perform acts of transgression and creation at the same time, to conquer intimate and collective spaces of freedom. Add to this the “Real Time” method that forces the actor to reach the physical and emotional limit to break the barrier, discover other worlds and transmute the cover of pain that proved so oppressive during that time of the Chilean dictatorship. Virtually all these performances deal with the theme of fascism, the political narrative and the passion story are intertwined. For example, “Hippolytus” is the exaggeration of gender fascism, “Phaedra” is destroyed in a lonely passion. However, in “Phaedra” we learn that it is better to participate in collective and artistic work, in a state of infatuation. Today in 2021, art must be the social connector, and it is the way that for me best reaches the audience. This group from the ‘80s was a precursor in using art as a method to break barriers.
Who do you think this movie will attract? It seems obvious that audiences in Chile and Argentina will relate to it, but there’s a very international feel to the art and expression in the old video tapes. Do you see this as something that should have legs outside of Chile?
I think art is extremely international and what happened in New York in the 1970s happened in Chile and Argentina in the 1980s and early 1990s. Everything related to art and performance is related and connected. I hope that this documentary will reach the world of international art and hopefully it will be seen in museums, alternative halls and art festivals in the world and success would be to be on a curated platform like MUBI.
What’s next for this movie? What do you have left to do and when do you think it will be finished and ready to premiere?
The video is still in post-production for sound and color and we still need to finish editing. I hope to finish towards the end of 2021, we still need some resources to finish, and hopefully we can win something at the Sanfic WIP to help with the sound post.