Chronicle of
an Escape

Israel Adrián Caetano

adrian_caetano_22.jpgSobre el director

I have always liked survivors, those who do not give up when facing the impossible and who become a sort of romantic antihero, those who have been in hell and know that we must choose paradise, even if it costs them their life. I should say that I like survivors, antiheroes, and those who act spontaneously. In Argentina there was an historic event which was ignored or at least not well known: the escape of four young men who, allegedly because of their left wing ideas, for having known somebody with those ideas, or just because, were kidnapped and tortured, and were forced to give information of their life and those of others. This took place at a detention centre known as Sere Mansion or Atila, where many were illegally detained and several continue disappeared to this day. Knowing my wish to narrate an escape, the producers proposed to make a film inspired on a book written by Claudio Tamburrini, one of the protagonists of that escape. They also offered me to participate in the screenplay development. We organized a meeting in Stockholm, where Claudio lives, and where I also met the person who initiated this adventure, Guillermo Fernández. Excellent. Then I had the opportunity of learning the real story -from the book- and to learn on my own about an event so important and yet so unknown. What attracted me most, besides the story, was the image of four young men naked, handcuffed, running at dawn under a furious storm to escape from a hell that would affect their life forever. The essence of the film was there. Four young men naked in all senses, under the rain, hurt, bruised, scared, running without knowing what would be the end of their imprisonment. It is good to repeat it. I told myself that it would be worth making a movie on this image, on this story, which is also ours. In order to try to achieve that final image, the one of the escape, to move viewers as much as it had moved me when I imagined it, I had to retell the hell that preceded it. All hells are impossible to imagine and their abstract essence makes it very hard to narrate them. Thus I decided to take for granted that abstraction and to focus on the encounter of the four protagonists and by getting to know them, getting to know their human character, and therefore, a light within that hell. CHRONICLE OF AN ESCAPE narrates the horror but does not pretend to provoke horror but instead a better understanding of the relationships between prisoners in an extreme situation. We find life in an illegal detention centre of the Argentine military dictatorship in the '70s. It was a constant film challenge: shooting always inside four walls and betting on the great outcome of the acting, the framing, and the light. It was not easy to generate fear, paranoia, and neurosis from there. How can we conceive madness? CHRONICLE OF AN ESCAPE is a perverse thriller but its perversion is orchestrated and involves people following orders. The film focuses on the torture making a human being disappear as such involves, not the physical disappearance but the psychological one. And on how the mere fact of conceiving an escape in that nuthouse, the sole mention of it, becomes a folly. That is the reason why, I reiterate, I like people who act spontaneously: those who ignore the fact that what they are doing will transcend themselves. Because, nearly utopically, (and I'd like to use this expression, however far fetched), this folly turned the tables on hell.