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Guiding Sights

Rafael Egaña is going blind and goes through the pics that his father has collected over the past 50 years. What happens with the images in your memory when you're going blind?

15 – 20 | 2011 | Archive Footage | Chile | Documentary

Rafael Egaña, 38, is going blind. He suffers RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa), a genetic degenerative retinal disease. With the iquiqueña director Katherina Harder, he goes through the images that his father, a passionate photographer, has collected over the past 50 years. A methodical archive featuring 120.000 developed and filed pictures – b/w and color, slides and digital. Each image represents a particular memory, but what happens with them when losing sight? Do they disintegrate together with the “visible” world or do they become clearer when being unable to generate new ones?

Produced by Catalina Donosos under Cusicanqui Films with the University of Chile’s Film and TV School, awarded at Valdivia, Antofagasta, Santiago and Providencia festivals, Guiding Sights is a short-doc interweaving images and memories, retina and film. Father and son, to see and to not see. “When you’ve been clear-sighted, images don’t get erased,” Rafael begins, unveiling his intimate paradox. The awareness of the word that surrounds him is gradually changing. The context is going to change. In metro, on the road, during his medical exams. If the universe is turning blurry, so his remembrance?

The structure of the film follows the same crescendo, taking viewers on the same emotional vibe as those directly involved. Documenting the personal story of Egaña through the sensory editing by Isabel Orellana and the hypnotic sound design by Roberto Collío (his Orellana-produced White Death is a must-see), Harder – filmmaker at University of Chile, helmer of the docu-reality 4to Medio, artistic director at Iquique International Film Festival – associates with Egaña’s sea of pics, slides, domestic Super8 and tape shots. Rafael with his mom, his sis, having fun on the beach, in Italy. It’s shocking listening to his voice as a child. What does he see in these pictures? Fragments of a huge piece of family and national history, and then his dreams (in color), his fear of looking to the future (to be or not to be a father?), the certainty of filming. Keeping the memory alive is essential. Especially since when we’re clear-sight, what we see in everyday life is actually what we’re experiencing?

Alessandro Zoppo

Alessandro Zoppo

Alessandro Zoppo

Editor-in-Chief @ Good Short Films

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