Recuerdos de un exilo Inglés

Rummaging through boxes I came across these. La memoria está en todas partes..

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Bear Story: Historia de un Oso Review

‘Bear Story is inspired by my family history, specifically my grandfather who was exiled from Chile during the 1973 coup d’etat. That was the starting point for the story of the film, which talks about the importance of family and how terrible it is to be torn apart from your loved ones’

‘The film is directly influenced by the Pinochet dictatorship. My grandfather, Leopoldo Osorio, was detained in 1973 during Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile. He was incarcerated for two years, after which he fled to England, forced to live in exile and be apart from his family. During my childhood, I felt the invisible presence of an absent grandfather, who was not dead, but was not present in my life. My short film Bear Story is not about the life of my grandfather, but it is inspired by his absence and the mark it left on me. Bear Story leaves some questions unanswered. What happened to the bear’s family? Where are they? These are the same questions that thousands of families in Chile ask themselves, who up to this day, still don’t know where their loved ones ended up. I hope these questions never need to be asked again’ Gabriel Osorio, Director.

Through gritted teeth and a lumpy throat I watched this film with my family. Asides from being a wonderful visionary experience, Bear Story tells the sad tale of military dictatorship in a novel and poetic way. For many hours after the film ended,  I was haunted by the melancholic soundtrack and the gentle way that such heavy issues were tackled, The ingenious animation left an imprint on my mind so deep that I have spent all weekend thinking about the experience of my own family, in particular that of both of my grandfathers who were imprisoned and tortured. The viewer is unsure what really happens with the bear’s family (I now know that this is intentional), adding to the feeling of solitude and displacement that the film so vividly portrays. I would recommend this film to everyone who wishes to explain to their children what exile means.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the 2016 Oscars nomination and delighted that our story and that of all those who have suffered exile and brutality at the hands of military regimes, is reaching audiences worldwide.

Chasing the paper trail

When I was a young woman I was very cross with my parents. Whilst my friends had their birth certificates, first baby shoes and other heirlooms, I had pretty much nothing. While I saw it as a sign of neglect or perhaps a careless disregard for the past, as I entered the adult world, that of bureaucracy, the lack of a paper identity became a handicap.
No birth certificate, no passport, no paper trail. Sometimes it felt as though I didn’t really exist.

Now, of course, I have come to understand the reasons for the lack of paper and file keeping. During the military coup my family was more concerned with self preservation than tucking away bits of paper for posterity. So we moved around from safe-house to safe-house with the bare minimum. And then once in the UK, we moved around so much that there was little thought or room for the accumulation of keepsakes.

The lack of paper evidence has made the task of piecing together Santiago’s past, pretty challenging. The internet hasn’t really thrown much up, hardly surprising as much of the story has not been digested and rewritten. To my dismay there was no trace of Santiago’s spell as a government official or his time in captivity, save a few anecdotal references.

Without much hope I took myself to the Cambridge Library in pursuit of an unknown ‘something’. After hours of trawling through the archives I struck gold! My paperless past now had an anchor. The stories had started their journey of validation. Much as it pained me to read the articles and see the silent horror in my grandfathers eyes, I felt comforted that finally here was the confirmation that all of this stuff was not just a figment of the collective family imagination.

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Article in Cambridge News. Myriam Bell his young daughter organises campaign

 

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Article in Cambridge News. Santiago is released.

 

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A newly released and exiled Santiago recounting his experience 1976

 

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Santiago’s first exhibition, Cambridge Central Library 1978