Thursday 23.5. / 9.15 pm / Kinoteka Cinema

The Settlers /

Chile/Argentina/UK/Taiwan/Germany/Sweden/France/Denmark, 2023, 97'
Director: Felipe Gálvez Haberle · Screenplay: Felipe Gálvez Haberle, Antonia Girardi · Photography: Simone D'Arcangelo · Editing: Matthieu Taponier · Production: Giancarlo Nasi (Quijote Films, Rei Cine, Quiddity Films, Volos Films, Cinema Inutile, Ciné-Sud Promotion, Film i Väst, Rei Pictures, Snowglobe Films) · Roles: Camilo Arancibia, Mark Stanley, Benjamin Westfall, Alfredo Castro, Marcelo Alonso, Sam Spruell, Mishell Guaña, Adriana Stuven, Mariano Llinás

A visually stunning revisionist Western set in Chile at the beginning of the 20th century. A rich landowner hires three horsemen to mark the boundaries of his massive estate and open a path to the Atlantic Ocean across the vast Patagonia. This expedition, undertaken by a young Chilean mestizo and an American mercenary, and led by a reckless British army captain, soon turns into a “civilizing mission”.

Dawson Island in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago was used during the Pinochet regime to detain and later exterminate political prisoners, including government ministers and close friends of Salvador Allende. But another massacre had previously taken place on the island, a genocide of the indigenous population which has been completely forgotten. There is a double rejection of history at work in Chile – the same authorities that seek to consign Pinochet’s dictatorship to oblivion have also erased the genocide of the Selk’nam people from the collective memory, an indigenous group whom non-indigenous Chileans call Ona. One of the more unique perspectives the film offers is the idea that Chileans were colonizers in their own country. How do emerging countries create their national identities? And why must the horror of conquest be repeated, in this case by Chileans and not by the Spanish? In the first part of the film, we see raw, brutal acts of violence, while in the second part, the violence becomes more subtle and carries into language. The events depicted in this film are not part of the official version of Chilean history. Hundreds of testimonies mention the slaughter and persecution of the indigenous population, but no verdict has ever been passed. The characters in the film were inspired by a true story, as told in testimonies and interviews found in an archive discovered some twenty years ago by two Chilean anthropologists. As a mestizo with a Spanish name, Segundo is simultaneously a descendant of the victims of colonization and a child of conquest – that is why we observe the events through his eyes. But the idea behind this is also to produce fiction. The film draws inspiration from novels, popular legends, paintings and cinematography, not just from real-life events. In this sense, The Settlers is not truly a historical reconstruction. Rather, it is a reflection on how fiction, particularly cinematography, has the ability to modify and distort historical reconstruction, and even to rewrite history. Let’s not forget – the white colonizer holds a camera, the indigenous peoples don’t. The colonizers are shown here as ordinary people – poor, ignorant and uncouth. Completely different from the heroes from Hollywood Westerns who turn genocide into a spectacle and entertainment under the guise of progress and civilization. Gálvez Haberle does not forget to point out the complicity but also the potentially redemptive role of film as a medium – because whoever holds the camera also holds the power to rewrite history.

*The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director of photography Simone D’Arcangelo

Awards and Festivals:

Cannes Film Festival (2023) – world premiere, FIPRESCI Prize in Un Certain Regard section; Golden Rooster Awards (2023) – Best Director, Best Artistic Contribution Award, (Simone D’Arcangelo – cinematographer); Stockholm Film Festival (2023) – Bronze Horse for Best Film; Festival du Nouveau Cinéma de Montréal (2023) – Best Film; Almeria Western Film Festival (2023) – Carlo Simi Award; Festival de Cine de Lima PUCP (2023) – Best Film; San Sebastián International Film Festival (2023) –  Best Fiction



Felipe Gálvez Haberle was born in Santiago in 1983. He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires. He directed several short films including Be Quiet Please, which received the BAFICI Award for best short film in 2009, and I’m Always Looking From Here, which premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2011. In 2018, he directed Raptor, which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival as part of Critics’ Week.