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Film: Chile Student Uprising

Essence of Chile's student uprising in the frame

Chile Student Uprising

Directed by Roberto Navarette

This half-hour documentary portrays the events of 2011, when not only the cost but the intent, scope and accessibility of education were challenged by hundreds of thousands on the streets and campuses of Chile.

In doing so, they forced society as a whole to examine some of its most basic principles.

There was and is no fence to sit upon during this process.

There are those who demand free, high-quality state-funded education and those who see learning as an opportunity to turn a profit.

There are those who find it immoral to inflict huge corrupting debt on graduates and those who believe it helps to integrate them into the banking system.

There is the free market or civilisation.

Roberto Navarette's film is all the more powerful for its objectivity. It shows the discussions, planning, debates, demonstrations, confrontations and occupations and the pride in a unified uprising.

It follows too the arguments as the protests lose momentum and shows the election of student leaders to Chile's lower House of Deputies.

Navarette captures the essence of a movement in this mixture of interviews, news footage and new filming - the optimism that comes from being on the side of equality and improvement, the realisation of power when the streets are full of the noise and banners of protestors, the arguments about conflicting tactics, the boundless humour and enthusiasm.

There is no slick conclusion because the rising didn't have one.

But neither did it end in failure, since it has only just begun.

Every single student, parent and worker who took any part in those 2011 events will carry the memory with them all their lives and will be affected by them every day.

It will be their Vietnam, anti-apartheid or Iraq - demonstrations that inculcate lessons and values that stay forever.

Though a fascinating film about Chilean students it is relevant to everyone who cares about education anywhere.

As a reminder that it is possible and necessary to resist, protest and organise, it inspires and encourages.

And it makes us look again at what is happening to education in our country and challenge its abasement.

Chris Proctor

 

Chile's Student Uprising is being screened tonight at The Forge, 3-7 Delancey Street, London NW1, details: www.alborada.net

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