992. Bear Story – Gabriel Osorio Vargas

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SUMMARY: An old bear creates a mechanical diorama that tells the story of his life.

WHY IT’S HERE: Gabriel Osorio Vargas’ ‘Bear Story’ was the first Chilean film ever to win an Oscar but its achievements go beyond this simple statistic. This film was inspired by the director’s grandfather Leopoldo Osorio’s experience as a socialist militant exiled during Pinochet’s dictatorship. As such, the film’s deceptively cute bear family are used to tell a troubling tale. In the film, an old male bear creates a mechanical diorama from which he makes a modest living by charging others to view its story. Through creating small puppets of his younger self and his family, the bear is able to tell his own terrible story the way he would like it. There’s an overwhelming sense of sadness to ‘Bear Story’, which cleverly switches between its living characters and the animated puppets that represent them. As a political allegory, it is powerful and moving and as an animation it is visually lovely but children who watch the film will benefit from at least a rough explanation of its point.

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