An oily sea, at dawn or dusk, with soft pink and blue reflections, and the chattering of gulls in the background… at the third minute of the film, the epinal image is broken with the announcement of a dead body.
Water carries tragedies within it. Una Luna de Hierro (An Iron Moon), filmed in 16 mm on the Chilean lands and the confines of Patagonia, is part of the sad register of human tragedies: the forced labour of individuals on board trawlers, requisitioned for shrimp and squid fishing, for periods far exceeding the 5 months legally authorised for sea travel.
Francisco Rodríguez Teare, who studied cinema at the University of Santiago de Chile, was not entirely convinced by the overly industrial and Americanised style. A summer university at Femis in 2014 acted as a trigger and an eye-opener. He made his first short film, inspired by a crime that took place in Paris in the Seine. Water already… judicial questions, lives after death, the reconstruction of narratives, animate the artist, who will continue his studies and his exploration of a more experimental cinema by going to the Fresnoy – National Studio of Contemporary Arts (2017-2018). There he developed a research project in which he cinematically adapted judicial archives and multiple points of view on an event.
For Una Luna de Hierro, it is an arrangement of oral testimonies, recorded documents, photographic portraits, desert landscapes, interspersed with poetry. The project is based on the texts of Chu Lizi, a young Chinese poet who ended his life, and the reading of the disappearance of four Chinese fishermen who drowned in Punta Arena.
The different stories ask us about the veracity of memory, the making of popular legends and how words are scattered over a territory. The artist also draws on the collective and personal history of his country of origin, where many people hope for the return of the disappeared despite decades of waiting…
In the rest of his films and video projects, Francisco Rodríguez Teare continues to explore his attraction to water as a material and hypnotic event, with the ballet of lovers under natural pools, an installation in an underwater environment, or his latest film recording a raging ocean.