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Reflection on “Cheleyem”

Before watching the film, Cheleyem: An Experimental of Mapuche Film Program, I expected to see the rich cultural heritage and pride of the Chilean Mapuche indigenous community. The digital visual art at the back brings confusion, and the young man drumming and making voices appears from a star symbolizing the divine protection of the Mapuche. The two presenters help demystify the confusion by summarizing the settler’s government’s atrocities on the Mapuche people. The film manages to capture the viewer’s emotional appeal making them interested to continue watching.

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The interviews in the film generate logic in the audience’s minds about the Mapuche people’s suffrage and how the state has been distorting evidence and manipulating history. The young woman’s interview mourning the death of her close relatives killed by police with their photos running through the screen causes strong emotions because of the realism of facts. In another interview, the woman interprets how the state manipulates the younger generation to believe the Mapuche perceive it as a spiritual taboo for women to play the ‘platin’ leading to hetero-patriarchal society. The grandparents have to teach the younger Mapuche generations about their heritage to preserve authenticity and promote its continuity for future generations. The film appeals logic to all types of audiences because it offers a clear picture of the Mapuche people’s suffrage and lacks obscene language, pictures, and violence.

When watching how the settler’s government and society have kept quiet and distorted history, the viewer questions how the inhumane treatment thrives in this digital technology era. The most hurtful aspect is watching a video of a person making beads on a television installed in the street while a vigorous gun battle illuminates how the media contributed to the unjust treatment by the state, turning a blind eye. However, the four presenters bring hope to the community by sharing their testimonies and urging for a violence-free country rather than revenge. The film ignites my curiosity to search for information about the Mapuche. However, the film is too long and contains prolonged and irrelevant pauses; it requires more tangible facts from the Mapuche people, particularly the elderly, to heighten credibility by sharing their stories. The movie is also educative, emotional, and uplifting for Mapuche people and acts as a voice of sensitization to the rest of the world.

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