Submission by Oscar Cárdenas (PhD Candidate)
Rabia. Directed by Oscar Cárdenas Navarro, performances by Carola Carrasco, Constanza Aguirre and Camila Aguirre, CeroFilm, 2006.
Oscar Cárdenas is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland who is exploring the works of Chilean director Raul Ruiz. His thesis is entitled: Raul Ruiz’s film making: An alternative to Central Conflict Theory. He is looking at four films including:
- L’hypothèse du tableau volé [The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting] (1979)
- Les destins de Manoel [Manoel’s Destinies/Manoel on the Island of Marvels] (1985)
- Le temps retrouvé [Time Regained] (1999)
- La noche de enfrente [Night Across the Street] (2012)
However, before his foray into the academic world and his move to Brisbane, Australia; Oscar Cárdenas (also known as Oscar Cárdenas Navarro) was a filmmaker in Chile and used this medium to explore and critique social issues. His 2006 film Rabia [translatable into English as Anger or Rage] is a wonderful example of his work.
The film Rabia explores the struggles of the female protagonist Camila Sepúlveda, who is emblematic of many women not only in Chile but throughout the world. Camila has been unemployed for over a year. Now, she is trying to get a job as a secretary. Through six episodes and brief interviews, we will find out what this long unemployment time has meant to her. Everywhere Camila goes for a job interview, she will listen to other unemployed women’s experiences. She knows that after this extended length of unemployment, she will never be the same person again.
Rabia is a film that focuses on the extreme reality of hundreds of unemployed women in Chile, and in this sense, it is not a film that poses any kind of social criticism. The social criticism, if any, belongs and is developed by each spectator after being exposed to the everyday life presented in the movie. Each of them will be able to get his own conclusion about what happens to each character and, most importantly, to the process of transformation that takes place in the protagonist character after being unemployed for over a year.
In order to present a realist mise-en-scène, the director Oscar Cárdenas decided to shoot on real locations in Santiago, Chile, without any intervention from the production crew. Above all, the goal was to face the different situations in a very direct way through the actors’ improvisation and through events which were not present in the original script.
The production system was developed based on the needs of the movie as well as on the limited technical resources available. The story had to (and could be told) in three days, just as it would have been for a real person in a desperate search for a job. A film plan was created which was specifically designed to meet very tight shooting timetables/schedules. These outcomes depended heavily upon not only time constraints, but the shooting authorizations the crew were able to get for different locations/sets. The movie is shot completely within real spaces and cityscapes, with no (or very limited) intervention on the part of the technical crew.
Oscar Cárdenas states that for him as Director, the times often referred to as ‘down-times’ are a bit of a misnomer. He states that these so-called ‘down-times’ were in fact, “fundamental [to the making of] the movie. Through them, the protagonist is discovered; it is precisely in those moments when she presents herself to the spectator in a most open and transparent way. Each of us can feel identified with Camila Sepulveda’s long waiting hours, each gesture on her face will us closer to her and to ourselves”.
He also comments that “With Rabia, we wanted to develop a production strategy according to the low budget we had but moreover to the artistic proposal we had postulated. We totally fulfilled our goal”.
Rabia [Anger / Rage] is available to view online via Vimeo (available either in its original Spanish, or in Spanish with English subtitles):
Rabia was selected in official competition more than 25 film festivals including:
- 59º Festival Internazionale del film Locarno – Filmmakers of the Present – Switzerland
- 54º Donostia – San Sebastian Festival Internacional de Cine – Horizontes – Spain
- 30º Cairo International Film Festival – Egypt
- Cinema en Construction 9 – 18° Rencontres Cinémas d’Amérique Latine de Toulouse – France
- 33º Ghent International Film Festival – Flanders, Belgium
- 31º Hong Kong International Film Festival – Hong Kong, China
- 28º Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano – La Habana – Cuba
For updates on Oscar Cárdenas Navarro’s artistic works (both film and photographic), please visit: https://www.instagram.com/oscar.cardenas.navarro/
Chile; Film; Raul Ruiz; Oscar Cárdenas; Women; Unemployment; Spanish;