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The Legend of the Lost Tigers

Tres tristes tigres – Histoire(s) du cinéma: Locarno70

The Legend of the Lost Tigers

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© Collection Cinémathèque suisse. Tous droits réservés.

Some movies have an adventurous life. 1969 Pardo d’oro, Tres Tristes Tigres, Raúl Ruiz’s first feature film, is among them.

It was released in Chile in 1968. The movie tells the story of Tito who came form the countryside looking for a better life in Santiago, where he finds a job as car seller. During a weekend he hangs around town with his sister, who secretly works as stripper and prostitute. During their rambling they meet Lucho, a professor who joins them looking for an ephemeral happiness that never arrives.

A raw slice of life of the Chilean society of the 60s, Tres Tristes Tigres didn’t have a great success when released in Chile, neither had it a great critic consensus. But the jury of Locarno Festival in 1969 loved it, luckily, ordaining who later would reveal himself to be a great cinematographer.

What about the adventure? Well, when dictator Pinochet rose to power in 1973 Ruiz was exiled and the movie got lost and its legend started, fulfilling itself in 1993, when a copy of the movie was accidentally found at the Cineteca Uruguaya. The film was restored and screened as special event at the Festival de Cine de Viña del Mar. 47 years later the circle closes and Tres Tristes Tigres comes back to Locarno.

Alessandro De Simone

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