El Patio (EN)

El Patio



Elvira Diaz


  • Chile
  • France


Feature film



Film exhibited in Toulouse: 

Y volveré, 2013 (52 min, documentary). Panorama des Associations, Toulouse Cinélatino 2014.


September 11th, 1973. The Chilean army and the CIA bombed the presidential palace of the socialist president Salvador Allende. Then followed 17 years of terror and brutal repression. 3200 people have been reported dead and 1200 are still missing. In Santiago’s General Cemetery, 5 gravediggers who have worked during the dictatorship are still employed at the cemetery. They have never spoken out about what lived. Because, for the last 40 years, they have been trying to forget. To forget that, watched 24 hours a day, they buried clandestinely, hundreds of unidentified victims. To forget they were atrociously mutilated and tortured. They have been trying to forget the morgue. The floor were strewn with rotting corpses and the walls were crawling with maggots. They also tried to forget the deaths of colleagues who had sunken into alcoholism, depression or madness. Resistance and resilience were the only ways to survive during this descent into Hell. The film will be shot exclusively inside the cemetery and will bring to light these previously unspoken words. Words which via these alleys and certain iconic tombs will bring history to the surface and enable us to look beyond the Chilean reality, and see how a totalitarian state puts into practice the mechanisms of dehumanization.

Visual concept: 

The film takes place entirely at the cemetery, in “their garden”, as the gravediggers say, in the spring, flowers make up a paradise of color. In the summer, everything is dry, dusty and dreary. For me, this represents the radical lean towards the dictatorship. The descent into hell. The calibration will intensify the colors of the seasons to support this. There will be no use of archives to illustrate history but there will only be the ones that link people’s life stories to history. The soundtrack will be composed on an acoustic guitar. A sensation of disturbing purity will be evoked by the sounds of the strings and the musician’s respiration.