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El corral y el viento

About this film

Returning home, experiencing time, exploring traces from the past - those have become characteristic of contemplative film. Miguel Hilari, a talented filmmaker from Bolivia who uses his camera to look into the past, created with El corral y el viento a film that seems like a portrait of another time. Hilari returned to the Aymara village of his father, recording the every day activities of his cousins and his uncle. While most people have moved to the big cities, some stay behind and live a simple, rudimentary life; a life full of dreams as Hernan, the bog protagonist of El corral, shows. He dreams of the city. He dreams of leaving the village behind, of working, of walking in the lights and of seeing the cars pass by. El corral becomes a portrait of traditional life where modernity is always at the horizon and in the minds of the young generation. We couldn’t be prouder to welcome first first from Bolivia to tao films. Don’t miss this film.

Nadin Mai (tao films)

Interview with the Director
Miguel, I’m very happy and proud to say that your film is the first film from Bolivia that we show on tao films. It’s great to have your work on board. I would like to know more about the film landscape in Bolivia. Is there a strong, upcoming generation of young filmmakers? Does the industry of popular film dominate the market, as it does in other countries?

Thank you, I am very happy that my film is shown on your platform.

In terms of audience, Bolivian theatres are dominated by Hollywood. We have practically no public film funds, so it is difficult for independent films to be produced and to be distributed. Almost every film produced in Bolivia deserves the “independent” label, however there have also been examples of films financed by churches, by the government or by a shopping mall… Of course, the results were rather disgraceful.

It is important to say that we do have a small but meaningful history of national cinema, and a lot of questions that arise when making a film where already there, in the history of our cinema. How does reality enter a film? What film form is used to tell our stories? What audience do you reach with a film? Is the camera an instrument of colonisation? Yes, there is an interesting generation of filmmakers working and when these questions arise I feel motivated to go on. I am part of a filmmakers collective called Socavón Cine and you can see some of our films through socavoncine.com.

How did you find your subject? What brought you to El corral y el viento?

The film is a portrait of the Aymara village of my father. As I mention in the film, my grandfather was locked up in donkey corral because he wanted to learn to read and write in Spanish. This happened around 70 years ago and I filmed the village nowadays, in search of traces from the past. In any case, I wanted to avoid the romantisized vision of the Indian and tried to look straight at the village, at the present, at my family’s history.

In some ways, your film reminded me of Three Sisters by Wang Bing. I’m speaking primarily of your particular interest in the life of a girl and a boy, their games, their fights, their day-to-day activities. Have you seen Wang Bing’s film? Have you been inspired by something you have seen in cinema before you made your own film?

I love Three Sisters. I saw that film some years ago. I don’t remember exactly if I had finished my film or not. I decided to make films when I saw Abbas Kiarostami’s work. I particularly remember The Wind Will Carry Us. But recently I saw Through The Olive Trees again, and was struck, again. I also love the documentaries by Sergey Dvortsevoy and Nicolás Guillén Landrián, and I think they have been an inspiration for me.

When I watched El corral, I kept wondering who the two children are. Can you tell me more about them?

They are my cousins Noelia and Hernán. Most of my family lives in the city now, but a few braves still live in the countryside. The film is about them. The second part is about my uncle Francisco, who lives alone since the death of his wife. All of his children left for the city.

There is one scene which I found particularly striking. You spend a lot of time exploring the rural life of the children. Your focus on animals, I find, highlights this. In one scene, though, the boy speaks about his dream to go to the city. He says, there are lights, cars and stores. He would like to leave his home in order to work in the city. That, too, reminds me of the work of Wang Bing. More and more people, especially of the young generation, leave their homes to work in the city. Is this also a general development in Bolivia?

Yes, this is a huge movement in Bolivia and I think in many parts of the world. In Bolivia, the cities have always been associated with western modernity, whereas the countryside has been associated with indigenous traditions. So in addition to changes in lifestyle the movement to the cities also bring changes in culture and language. It would be interesting to know how this movement has been represented in European cinema. I enjoy watching the fascinated visions of cities in silent cinema, Ruttmanns “Berlin”, for example.

At times, it feels as though the children perform for the camera. It feels like a sort of game, which they play with the camera or even with you. What was your role in the process? I’m not so much interested in you as a filmmaker, who merely stands behind his camera. You seem to have become a part of their lives in some way.

I film over large (sometimes too large) periods of time. It was very important for me to film with a big camera. I didn’t want to hide the fact that I am filming and I don’t believe in that “fly on the wall” story. Claire Denis once said: “Film famous people with small cameras and unknown people with big cameras”. The presence of the camera always modifies a situation, sometimes in a violent way. A lot of moments in the film were provoked by the presence of the camera. That was an important point.

Are you currently working on a new project?

Yes, I am finishing a film this year. It is called “Soñé con caballos” and it is about a music played for the dead and about journeys.

Thank you very much for this interview.