By Morella Moret
Paz Encina’s Ejercicios de Memoria (Memory Excercises) refers us to the melancholic memories of Agustín Goiburú’s children, an important political opponent of Alfredo Stroessner’s Paraguayan regime. With 35 years in power, Stroessner led a regime of state terrorism where more than 128 thousand people were incarcerated, tortured or just went missing.
A child and his siblings walk among wooded terrains without shoes and arrows in hand. They go to the river, run, explore, and are happy there. Their mother waits at home, a swift embroider. She looks at the window, alone, waiting, maybe for her husband to arrive or for the children to come back for lunch.
In the same way with these images, we hear the story of the three siblings: Rogelio, Jazmín and Rolando. They recall their stories of exile and terror as children. The stories superimpose, the memories are different but finally create a symphony in which each note complements the other. That’s how we understand that these adults never really felt like children, since the persecution that the Paraguayan government took on their father never allowed them to be.
That’s how Paz Encina uses resources that help the introspection and memory as visual complements, allowing the spectator to realize connections between what’s being heard and what’s being seen. Photos, documents and different elements also ignite the remembrance.
Ejercicios de Memoria tells us the story of many families during the Paraguayan dictatorship taking a particular case as a showcase for the thousands of missing people that haven’t yet been found and the many dead ones without a name. Finally, it doesn’t only narrate the story of a singular country but of many similar regimes, whose memories have been forgotten.
CINÉMA DU REÉL: INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION
Director: Paz Encina
Germany, Argentina, France, Paraguay, Qatar