Carlo Guillermo Proto: El Huaso

It is quite a challenge to choose one’s own family as the theme of one’s first feature documentary. Nevertheless this is what Carlo Guillermo Proto (1979) did with ”El Huaso”, a film that demonstrates a strong visual competence to convey the story of a father, who has decided to commit suicide if he, like his own father, gets alzheimer. He does not want to be a burden to his family.

Carlo, the son, the filmmaker, follows his father on his journey to the doctor, to the psychologist, and back to Chile, his home country, where his horse riding apparently makes him a free and happy man away from the depression that makes him suffer in Toronto… where he also is a happy grandfather when he plays and talks with his lovely grandson.

It is tense, it has a fiction feel in many staged scenes, and especially one brings memory of Ingmar Bergman: The whole family placed in a couch, including the protagonist, the father, discussing the good and bad sides, the right and wrong, about his eventual decision to take his life! There the director, also in the couch, reaches the point where you as a viewer feel uncomfortable to watch. Gives you a painful impression. Like when you watch the Swedish master.

Talent is needed to make a private story personal and universal. Here it is done beautifully.

Canada/Chile, 2011, 80 mins.

Seen at DOCSBarcelona 2012

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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