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Niles Atallah's wild, inspired history of French adventurer Orélie-Antoine de Tounens, told via puppetry, stop-motion and degraded film stock.
Director: Niles Atallah
Niles Atallah's wild and inspired experimental film imagines the history of Orélie-Antoine de Tounens, a 19th-century French adventurer who delved into the Chilean jungle, becoming the anointed king of Mapuche tribes before his betrayal to authorities and eventual deportation.
With much of de Tounens life shrouded in mystery, Atallah's account examines the elusiveness of historical memory by experimenting with representation and film form. De Tounens' tribunal is presented with actors donning bizarre papier-mâché masks, while footage of jungle exploration was shot on film before being buried in the director's garden to imitate the degradation of early film stock. The result is a vividly imagined, wonderfully playful riff on history, memory, artisitic representation and ethnocentrism.