Chilean director Karin Cuyul has presented the film History of my name (Chile, Brasil, 2019, 78 min.), His first feature film, which competes in the international section of the 19th Film Festival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. In this documentary, Cuyul seeks to reconstruct his identity from his name whose background keeps the true history of his family. It is a beautiful metaphor of the cinema as a reconstruction of oneself from the observation of another, of the neighbor and also of the alien. A journey towards his own life, his memories and his past that reveal personal and collective aspects of a painful period in the recent history of Chile.
After losing all family records after the fire of his house, Cuyul decided in 2012 to reconstruct the memories of his childhood through the visit to the places where he grew up, as well as collecting other people's home files. Specifically, she investigates the figure of Karin Eitel, a young student kidnapped and tortured by the Pinochet dictatorship in 1987, a story that inspires Cuyul's mother to put her name.
Far from her initial idea, "in the course of the development of the film, the script, the investigation, the shooting and subsequent editing", Cuyul realized that the film "became much more personal" and that he had to speak from his story and that of his family, but "always looking to challenge the country a bit."
In addition to the extensive archive that he compiled, including through the request he made on social networks, he acknowledged that "it was very useful to read about the traumas of the war because in Chile there is not so much research about it", unlike a lot of documentation on disappeared, children of political executions, exiled people € because their family "nothing happened to him, he did not experience torture nor was part of the resistance". In some way, the Chilean filmmaker admitted that "she was very far from that scenario" where she could not find her place in a country that "was totally divided in two". Thanks to these stories of post-war generations, he explained, "he was understanding how silence and memory work and operates."
In History of my name, that has the filmmaker Dominga Sotomayor among its producers, Cuyul has been able to resolve his personal doubts because "he was not aware of the issue of silence in Chile." From modesty and shyness explained that silence "has always been present in your home but did not realize" and had to "take it" during the filming and, especially, after the assembly. "That language is not direct, from the edges", which served as a resource to narrate the film. A language that comes to be called "language" and wanted to incorporate his documentary after detecting "certain winks of form and expression that all these people have." "It's as if they had a chip of not talking, of not remembering, of not going through those spaces of pain".
Karin Cuyul, who has left the field production to face this debut, from the direction "has had funds from Chile and Brazil to make this film, so he believes that" has been very blessed. "
However, he is "expectant" and even "gives him a little scare" to see what will happen when he premieres in his country "because there is still a halo of resentment in front of people who were from the extreme left". But at the time of the investigation she was always determined to "make a reflection".
Shown in the Bright Future section of Rotterdam, where she received an honorable mention, the Chilean filmmaker captures in her debut film, with a reflective and nostalgic tone, the oblivion from the point of view of those who grew up in a democracy merging, for this, their memory with that of an entire country.