RCH 2005 – Director: Cristóbal Vicente – Original language: Spanish – Subtitles: English


In 1999 the Valparaiso prison in Chile closed down, bringing to an end 150 years of history. Generation upon generation of prisoners have been incarcerated in this institution over the years. General Augusto Pinochet tortured numerous dissidents in its cellars. Before its closure, Cristóbal Vicente sought to document the final working year of the jail: to record the rituals, routines and values of the men who were imprisoned there.

Arcana takes us inside the prison walls revealing to us a rhythm of life that is completely different to that of the outside world. One night in prison lasts 16 hours. For the other 8 hours a day the inmates are allowed outside of their cells. They try to get as much out of this short time as possible while relying heavily on stimulants such as mate tea and tobacco. 16:00 is lock up time and the monotonous cycle begins again. Arcana is a respectful homage to the Valparaiso prisoners, shot in classical black and white, with an analytical approach, like Foucault, Genet and Bresson put together.

Award: Best Sound, Valparaiso 2005

Writer: Cristóbal Vicente. Camera: Cristóbal Vicente. Sound: Mario Diaz. Editing: Cristóbal Vicente, Carlos Klein. Music: Carlos Canales, Luis Toto Álvarez. Production: Cristóbal Vicente. Producer: Cristóbal Vicente. Length: 96 min.

Horizons (2005-2009) 2006
  • Friday
    Spanish with English subtitles
  • Monday
    Spanish with English subtitles