The Return of the Motherland

1989, 27:10 min, color, sound

An elegy for Downey's native Chile, The Return of the Motherland merges a fictional narrative with "video-verite" documentary footage from the streets of Santiago and New York. This provocative, multi-layered work evokes the importance of memory, both personal and political. Intercutting images from officially sanctioned Chilean television, footage of protests against the Pinochet regime, and fictional characters, Downey uses a chroma-key technique — in which both fictional and "real" characters are placed against rear-screen projections — to heighten the layering of reality and representation. Ironically contrasting Pinochet's brutal violations with the studied theatrical pomp of the Chilean military, Downey underscores human-rights issues that will not disappear, within both the individual and political contexts of contemporary Chile.

With: Steve Meyer, Monique Van Kerhof, Rob Oudendyk, Evelyne Maynard, Maria Isabel Donoso, Felipe Landea. Camera: Juan Downey, Cristian Galaz, Yerko Jancovic. Editors: Kirk Von Heflin, Joe DePierro. Engineer: Rick Feist.


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