The Arrival of the White Elephants
The avocado is one of the oldest cités in the capital (Santiago, Chile). Today it is in its genesis, about to be replaced by another structure so different, but at the same time so similar; a building or “white elephant”, as Mrs. Monica calls it. The voices of the cité tell us their history in these last years of life.
Juan Pablo Alarcón Alvarado is Filmmaker and Creative Director with studies in Filmmaking at the Escuela de Cine de Chile. He is currently finishing a short / fiction film Nada es Gratis (2021) and writing a pilot for a brand-new series (2021).
I have been obsessed with dichotomies for much of my life. They can come in various shapes and colours. I find that there is some truth in them. During the winter of 2018, I found one of the biggest dichotomies I had ever seen, it was just around the corner. They were my neighbours from the cité el Palto. The cités are housing complexes very similar to buildings. They both have hallways. People live in both. And yet, despite their similarities, they are extremely different. The stories of my neighbours, who were negotiating with a real estate agency for the possible purchase of their town, helped me understand this dichotomy and in passing they showed me what it means to live in a community, something that I had not been able to see in my 23 years living in buildings.