Wolf House

Casa del lobo

It’s the title of a new film inspired by Colonia Dignidad, the horrific German colony in southern Chile used by the Pinochet dictatorship’s secret police. La Casa Lobo, or Wolf House, is the work of two young Chilean producers, Cristobal León and Joaquín Cociña, and recently won a prize at the Berlin Film Festival.

And it’s animated, a form not usually associated with horror, but the filmmakers used an intriguing approach: if the sinister leader of the cult were a Latin American Walt Disney, what kind film would he make? In an interview with El Mostrador, León noted that reports of abuses at Colonia Dignidad had been filtering out since the 1960s, but nothing was done about it. It is important to discuss this subject, and to find new forms and perspectives to deal with our national traumas, he said.

Here’s a link to the official trailer

A roundup: Chilean food, wine, film and students

The Los Angeles Times has an admiring review of Chilenazo (www.chilenazo.net) , a Chilean restaurant in Canoga Park, with a mouth-watering description of pastel de choclo: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-find-20120202,0,3541039.story.

The Chicago Tribune has an article http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/food/sc-food-0127-wine-chile-20120201,0,2433912.story on Chilean wine by oenologist Bill St. John, who rhapsodizes about the country but chides Chilean winemakers to “tell a better story” about their product:

Whenever I come to you — this was the third time — I always feel as if I am sneaking into a special place, hidden behind a secret panel.

You are the longest and thinnest country on the globe, topped by the fire of the world’s driest desert, your feet in the ice of glaciers and Antarctica. The impenetrable Andes are your eastern spine and your west is wetter than wet, a nearly unbroken expanse across the vast Pacific. You veil yourself so from the rest of the world, tucked away, unique and quiet. You are extraordinary.

I came for your wines, of course, to discover more about them. I had not seen you in 10 years; much had changed — but also much had not.

I will be blunt. Chile, you need to begin to tell a better and fresher story about your wines.

Chilean filmmakers have won not one, but two prizes at the Sundance Film Festival, with “Violeta se fue a los cielos” (Violeta went to Heaven) http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/120056/violeta_went_to_heaven receiving the prize for the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize and “Young &Wild”  awarded with World Cinema Screenwriting Award for drama http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/120026/young_wild.

Finally, Gregory Elacqua, director of the Universidad Diego Portales’ Public Policy Institute  has a good background piece at the Americas Quarterly blog on student protest in Chile and the reasons for the unrest, noting that the government pours a great deal of its education budget into higher education without  demanding much accountability. http://www.americasquarterly.org/node/3261#3287