27 May 2008

Chilean Folklife

Another example of Chilean folklife introduced to me by my students. This film deals with gestures, specifically hand gestures, that are so common in the physically expressive Latin cultures. It's short and fast--maybe a bit too fast--and won an award in the short film contest sponsored by Nanometrajes, a five-year-old event that documents contemporary Chilean life.

Perhaps most distinctly Chilean is the last crotch-grabbing gesture known as the Pato Yáñez. Patricio "Pato" Nazario Yáñez Candia is a retired football player who famously invented his own folk gesture during a controversial 1989 match against Brazil. It seems that Chile desperately needed to win the match but toward the end of the second period were behind 0:1. So when a firecracker was thrown on the field the goalkeeper faked an injury in an attempt to somehow suspend the match. The Chilean National team rallied around the goalkeeper which is when Pato turned to the Brazilian fans to show explicitly his disdain for their actions. The Chileans refused to continue to play and a subsequent brawl broke out.

In the end the firecracker was real but the injury was not; Chile was disqualified from the finals. The final scenes of the match, including the inauguration of the Pato Yáñez can be seen on this You Tube video. The gesture itself happens around the one-minute mark.

The birth of folklife. ¡Qué Rico!

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