Los Reyes (“The Kings”) is the oldest skatepark in the Chilean capital of Santiago. This story is about the real kings here: Football and Chola, two stray dogs that have made their home in this open space full of hurtling skateboards and rowdy teenagers. The energetic Chola loves to play with the balls she finds lying around. She positions them at the edge of the bowls where the skaters show off their tricks and tries to catch them just before they fall down. The older dog, Football, looks on impatiently and barks at Chola until she finally drops the balls. The teenagers around them come from very different, sometimes troubled backgrounds. They each have their own story, which they recount to us in voiceover. In this almost fairy-tale-like film, the phenomenal, dreamlike camerawork centers almost entirely on the subtle interaction between the two dogs, as they play with a ball, a stick, a stone and each other.



Since its inception, the documentary work by Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff has stood out for risk and creativity in its themes, treatments and points of view. With eight feature films to their credit, their poetic journey is full of turning points and mutations that have accompanied the technological and cultural transformations of their time, challenging the most stable and conservative premises of what is meant by documentary filmmaking.

Their work has gone from a very physical and gestural first record linked to the lightening of the cameras and the voyeur drive, present in films such as Martin Vargas from Chile (2000) or A Man Aside (2002), which in turn emphasized the performative dimension of its protagonists (the boxer Martín Vargas in the first, and a fantasist manager in the second); towards a visual stylization that began with the exercise of “inverted ethnography” Welcome to New York (2006), found a hinge in the ethical exploration of the field (and its limits) in News (2009); and reaches a climax in Surire (2015), a documentary about a salt flat in the highlands where landscape, nature, animals and humans are observed from a glance that combines the sensory with the materiality.

Before conclusions, the documentaries by Perut + Osnovikoff raise questions, they interrogate the limits and the common senses. This is the case, for example, of its two entries around the social memory, on the one hand Clever Monkey Pinochet versus La Moneda’s Pigs (2004), where groups of school children represent the military coup through acting improvisations where the game is combined with the parody, speaking of a conflicting present that inhabits the bodies, an issue that they emphasized even more in The Death of Pinochet (2011), a “social fresco” around the day of Pinochet’s death.

Although their work has been discussed and even marginalized from some circuits, their proposal has only grown and opened up new avenues, including documentary film as a plastic and social exploration.

Iván Pinto, La Fuga.



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