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7 days to watch
594 Ratings

Mute Fire


Colombia, 2019


In 1906, four men were executed for attempting to assassinate Colombia’s president. Years later, director Federico Atehortúa Arteaga discovers the strange and improbable relationship between the failed assassination, his mother, and the origins of cinema in Colombia: a long history of violence.

Our take

Interweaving invaluable archive footage—personal and collective—to investigate his country’s systemic violence, Colombian debutante Federico Atehortúa unveils a striking correspondence between cinema and war. Mute Fire is a poignant reflection on how images produce memory, and memory shapes history.

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Critics reviews

While one might have desired a more rigorous and objective approach to connecting Colombia’s history of image-creation with national violence, Atehortúa Arteaga’s introduction of the personal is ultimately a moving gesture of imbrication, that when bodies are what are photographed and filmed, are what are shot and killed, human bodies are therefore what are affected.
January 30, 2019
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What are people saying?

  • Sonia Marybel's rating of the film Mute Fire

    Muy interesante documentário sobre Colômbia a partir de una historia personal , y los hechos históricos unidos en un brillante relato .

  • Jerry's rating of the film Mute Fire

    Un documental fascinante e íntimo sobre la relación de la imagen y su relación con la normalización de la violencia en Colombia

  • Santiago Robles's rating of the film Mute Fire

    “Mute fire” gives us a strong lesson we cannot forget: our reality is plastic, “truth” is an empty concept that we can fill with a different material/image each time. Latin America’s representation has been distorted in many ways by images all over the world. We may not know when an image is false but we can try to make an accurate representation. Images can change our perception: this film has changed mine.

  • saitosouta's rating of the film Mute Fire

    Rotterdam #11: Director's memories about his mute mother overlap Colombia's sanguineous history like the assassination of the president and the conflict between military and FARC.And this landscape is sublimated into kaleidscopic vision of cinema, with abundant footages, in deeply personal yet horrifyingly historical "Pirotecnia". I'm devastated by what gigantic wounds Colombian people must embrace. Insightful.

  • DrFirestone's rating of the film Mute Fire

    More of a video-essay than a pure document, disturbing at times and beautifully poetic overall. It's not an easy watch, because while centered around the ambivalence of images representing and shaping "reality" it touches on the history of Colombian cinema, politics, as well as director's personal matters. While all that combined can be distracting, the message is powerful, and the overall impression lingers on...

  • dionysus67's rating of the film Mute Fire

    Far too many trajectories pursued for a doc that aims to enlighten rather than to simply honor family and nation. It is as if the film gets lost amid the photographs and the reconstructions, the home video footage and the FARC resistance, all subsumed under cinema's birth in Colombia. There are interesting moments (the penalty replay) and the Italians conception of cinema and the state, despite the visual confusion.

  • giovany orozco leal's rating of the film Mute Fire

    More than a documentary this is a video-essay in documentary format. The question addressed here is an old one: Are moving pictures part of reality even if what we see isn't real? They answer with a metaphor: whether the illness of the filmmaker's mother is real matters, because of the tangible impact it has on her family. If the images of winning a war can lead to state-sponsored murder, then their impact is real.

  • Nathan Jeffers's rating of the film Mute Fire

    I felt this film was muddled and muddling to watch. Perhaps that was the intention. There are interesting ideas here, and some interesting footage, but for me the director was trying to spread their net too widely, trying to talk about several things at once and I don't think it worked. That combined with poor subtitles (Mubi's issue, rather than the director's admittedly) made it a rather disappointing experience.