January 30, 2023


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Pablo Achugari Doc, backed by Coral Scene, opens Uruguay’s ARCA

4 min read

All aspects of artistic life are featured in Mercedes Sader’s telling documentary, “The Children of the Mountain” (“Los Hijos de la Montana”), which digs deep into the performance and psyche of renowned Uruguayan sculptor Pablo Achugari.

The film will bow at this week’s ARCA International Festival of Films on the Arts on January 2, inaugurating the festival’s promising second edition, held at Nayak’s recently inaugurated contemporary art museum in Punta del Este.

A roving live-action memoir, the account achieves certain whimsy as it uncovers the inner workings of the artist who creates materials from the wild, a passionate sculptor seemingly inspiring his next with a demand for his work that outstrips supply.

The project is a Uruguayan-Italian co-production between Montevideo-based Corral Cine (“Bendetti, 60 anos de Luz”) and Sader’s Sebastian Bednarik and Andres Varela, who work together to bring ARCA to life. Additional production credit goes to the Italian format.

Talked with Saad before the exhibition of the film diversity About its compelling narrative.

You include not only the luxurious aspect of being a recognized figure in the art world, but also the more mundane aspects of owning new work and sourcing materials. Can you talk a little?

We thought we knew Pablo Atchugari’s work, but we knew very little about his personal life. As I entered his world, I discovered a vast and varied work and found myself following the footsteps of Pablo and his family around the world, immersed in a somewhat nomadic life, between Italy and Uruguay, also the United States.

From the initial concept, the film was changing and evolving. The team has been essential throughout this process. I have been working on projects with Coral Scene for many years and it was a great personal challenge when producers Sebastian Bednarik and Andres Varela entrusted me to direct this film. What happened during the epidemic was very interesting. Together with Santiago Bednarik, editor, sound director and co-scriptwriter, we decided to take advantage of those first months, to see all the shoots we had done, we started to test possible montages.

I think it was a very loving process where we were able to imagine a film, where we had very clear priorities: the care of aesthetics and imagery, how to show works of art; Keeping the concept of journey alive, both metaphorically and literally. It is not a road movie but the journey and movement is a constant that serves as a common thread of the film. This journey is also inside the hero, the man who works obsessively and must make as much as he needs to eat. Another priority was music. Luciano Superviel has done an incredible job, his music brings great emotion to the movie scenes.

How much art is the stubborn insistence on expressing yourself and being heard?

Art is a way of understanding the world. Especially contemporary art, which captures the essence of our time. A work of art is not only the result of work and technique, but also some madness, passion, humor, fear, it is an expression of the reality that surrounds us.

Artists arouse deep curiosity in me: What is their creative engine? How do they see the world? Are they trying to communicate with others? I am interested in capturing those singularities in one of the richest forms of communication I know, which is cinema

“The material dictates,” says filmmaker Ferruccio Musitelli. For Atchugarry, the material itself is the marble block containing the work, sculpture has always lived in stone. His task is to remove what remains and bring the “child of the mountain” into the world. For Musitelli, filming lets the subject speak for itself. In 1979 Musitelli took a picture of Pablo in Italy. A young Pablo, with his long beard and hair, almost like a caveman, loads a heavy block in a baby carriage. His first marble sculpture was born from that stone.

Today, 44 years later, there is a story, the life of Pablo Achugari, that deserves to be told and shared. My way of doing this is cinema, because, in the words of Andrei Tarkovsky, “Like no other art, it expands, enriches and concentrates human emotional experience, heightens it and certainly prolongs it.”

In your opinion, what is the most interesting aspect of Pablo’s life?

There is no separation between the art he creates and the life Pablo Atchugari leads. It is interesting to enter into his daily life and understand his creative process as part of life. There’s something quite magical that happens when you meet someone who lives seamlessly within their everyday needs to create. You will intimately understand that art connects, heals and it shows you an exciting world view. I especially believe that Pablo is a great and strong visionary and his life is a wonderful example, especially for young artists.

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