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Cristóbal León & Joaquín Cociña Introduce Their Film "The Bones"

"...for us the art of filmmaking has to do with opening questions, breaking things, showing images that awaken ideas and sensations."
Notebook
Cristóbal León & Joaquín Cociña's The Bones is exclusively showing on MUBI starting December 8, 2021 in the series Brief Encounters.
Los Huesos
Los Huesos (The Bones) is born from a fiction: during an excavation, a series of highly deteriorated film tapes appear. Dated 1901, the discovered tapes turn out to be the world's first stop-motion animation film, produced in Chile years before the first known European and North American animations. The discovery is revolutionary in several ways. First, it designates Chile as the birthplace of animated film. Second, the animation is made with fragments of human corpses: real bodies have been used to create the figures. Third, the story within the film fragments reveals a visit of the then unknown and unborn Jaime Guzmán, intellectual of the Pinochet dictatorship and ideologue of its 1980 constitution, and Diego Portales, minister and intellectual of the Chilean oligarchic tradition of the 19th century. Portales was also an ideologue of Chile’s 1833 Constitution.
Whenever we start thinking and dreaming about a film, one of the questions we ask ourselves is, “who is the imaginary director of the film?” We usually work with role-playing games, where we imagine an artist who is not us; we invent a criterion, context, and taste and we work from that place. In short, we dress up in someone else's skin. Another question that often comes up in conversations is, “how will we face the production technically?” We like to feel that we are entering new terrain for us, that we are facing problems for which we have no answers. Los Huesos is on the one hand a film that claims to have been produced in 1901, being the first stop-motion animation in history. On the other hand, it is a ritual or a spell to free Chile from a social order that has endured since colonial times.
Los Huesos was conceived in the midst of the so-called Estallido Social, a series of demonstrations that occurred in Chile in October 2019. The demonstrations triggered a political process that now has Chile writing a new constitution in a democratic and representative way for the first time. In response to the social outburst of October 2019, the Chilean government used excessive force to control and halt protests, killing, blinding, and maiming hundreds of people. For us Los Huesos offers two things; the film is a way to revisit the history of cinema, traveling to an initial moment in time when cinema was born.  Los Huesos is also a ceremony through which we imagine we are divorcing Chile from its oligarchic past and present. In the end, Los Huesos is an act of rewriting. The process of rewriting is very serious and, at the same time, very ridiculous, funny, and tragicomic.      
Los Huesos pays homage to the work of the Russian-Polish animator Władysław Starevich, director of the Lithuanian Museum of Natural History at the beginning of the 20th century. Starevich wanted to make a film about the life of insects, but the creatures died when exposed to the powerful filming spotlights. Starevich solved the problem by replacing the legs of the dead insects with wires and animating the corpses frame by frame. We have always liked this story as a sort of beautiful origin myth for the stop-motion technique. Stop-motion is born resurrecting corpses like Victor Frankenstein, thus sealing the technique's necromantic destiny. In Los Huesos we wanted to make an exaggerated version of Starevitch's insects, replacing them with human corpses.
All of these ideas and inspirations were in our minds and hearts when we made the short film, but we know that no artist truly owns the meaning of their work. Meaning is in the hands of the audience and participants. We love the idea that each person can interpret what they want: for us the art of filmmaking has to do with opening questions, breaking things, showing images that awaken ideas and sensations. We are not here to give answers.
To finish, we would like to share the list of rules we made for the production of Los Huesos. In our recent projects we made lists, or commandments, to guide us on the confusing and rewarding path that is filmmaking.
LOS HUESOS “DECALOGUE” (we know there are 11 rules!)
I. There’s No Continuity
II. Light comes from the Sun
III. It is made in 1900
IV. This is Theater
V. It's Corpses and Ghosts
VI. It is a Ritual
VII. This is the first animation of History
VIII. The Girl does everything
IX. It is found footage film
X. We are in a Pandemic (wear a mask!)
XI. They are all still shots

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