The Return of the Dragon (APR 10-27) is an in-depth exploration of theatremaking during not only a revolution, but in the midst of a pandemic. This 23-minute film looks at Guillermo Calderón’s theatrical projects, such as Mateluna and Dragón, and how art responds directly to and interacts with the political world around them.
Based in Chile, there has been enormous upheaval in the past few years; former Artistic Director David Dower reported back to us in 2020 after returning from a scouting trip. Chile’s current protests and violence stem from decades long, if not centuries long, economic and sociopolitical inequalities. This environment is not only the backdrop of Calderon’s work, but the subject of it.
Before diving into The Return of the Dragon, we’ve compiled a very brief and not nearly complete timeline of Chile to help contextualize the film. We hope this helps as a resource and encourages you to find out more information about current events in Chile. And please feel free to share anything you find in the comments so that all of our audience members can take a deeper dive together.
Prior to 2010
Governed by a dictatorship in the 1970s up until the late 1980s and then rife with changing powers until the early 2000s, Chile remained in an unstable relationship between its people and its politicians. This is the root of uprising and sets the stage for the economic downturn to come years later.
By 2010 however, Chile had made amendments to their constitution and became a pseudo socialist country with rather progressive policies and President Michelle Bachelet at the helm. In a mere 30 years, Chile had completely transformed its leadership and government style. Until…
- Right-wing candidate Sebastián Piñera defeats former President Eduardo Frei in presidential election, ending 20 years of rule by the left-wing Concentracion coalition.
- Hundreds die and widespread damage is caused as massive earthquake strikes central Chile. The 8.8 magnitude quake is the biggest to hit the country in 50 years.
- Thirty-three miners trapped deep underground for 69 days are winched to safety, watched by TV audiences around the world.
- Left-wing candidate Michelle Bachelet wins second round of voting in presidential election.
- Tens of thousands of parents march in protest against plans to phase out subsidized schools as part of President Michelle Bachelet’s flagship education reform.
- Mateluna premieres in 2016
- Violent protests, albeit on a smaller scale, erupted in Chile in 2016 after students called for education reforms.
- Presidential election won by conservative former president Sebastián Piñera.
- Civil protests took place throughout Chile in response to a raise in the Santiago Metro’s subway fare, the increased corruption, cost of living, privatization and inequality prevalent in the country, called El Estallido Social (The Social Outbreak).
- Dragón premieres in 2019
- On October 25, 2019, over 1.2 million people took to the streets of Santiago to protest against social inequality, demanding President Piñera’s resignation. As of 28 December 2019, 29 people have died, nearly 2,500 have been injured (notably in the eyes), and 2,840 have been arrested.
- In November 2019, nightly curfews were put into place for all citizens as a response to the multiple uprisings.
- The coronavirus outbreak places Chile into full lockdown.
- President Piñera has already unveiled stimulus measures to try to ease the economic impact of the pandemic, but critics and opposition groups say his plans do not go far enough.
- On October 25, 2020, a year after the largest protest in Chilean history, Chileans voted 78.28 percent in favor of a new constitution, while 21.72 percent rejected the change. Voter turnout regarding the change was 51 percent. A second vote is now scheduled for April 11, 2021, to select 155 Chileans who will form the convention which will draft the new constitution.
As mentioned early, this is merely a briefing of the current situation in Chilé and how the country arrived this moment. However, after viewing The Return of The Dragon, it will be impossible not to recognize that the sounds of a revolution are the same wherever they take place.
Join us for this striking documentary APR 10-27, only at ArtsEmerson.