Documentarist Michael Chanan’s new film, Interrupted Memory, will receive its world premiere at the Havana International Film Festival, 5-15 December 2013, where Chanan will also be participating in a panel discussion on contemporary documentary. There will be a preview screening at Roehampton on Wednesday 4th December (Duchesne Lecture Theatre, 4.30pm)
Interrupted Memory is a documentary about memory and politics in Argentina and Chile, shot in Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Santiago in the southern autumn of 2013, which follows the course of people of different generations in the act of remembering in front of the camera. Asked about their earliest political memories, people recollect incidents and experiences from childhood and youth which frequently figure demonstrations, popular militancy, rebellion, and military coups. Then, recalling salient episodes in their political experience, their memories also testify to histories of state terrorism and repression.
The remembered experiences shape a collective narration of history in the two countries from a range of different angles, whose traces are also found in clips from the archives which play off against the spoken word. In short, the film constructs a possible version of lived political experience, of collective living memory, in which, to borrow a phrase from Gilles Deleuze, people tell stories that are never fictional. It concludes with reflections on the politics of memory, and the lacunae of today’s official discourses of human rights in the two countries, either because trauma, both social and individual, always leaves traces that remain ineffable, beyond expression—or because some things are put aside as politically inconvenient and incorrect.