New Television Workshop Collection

New Television Workshop Collection Program MaterialsNew Television

Video clip of Return of the Motherland

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Return of the Motherland

See the record for "New Television, Episode 511 (1989)" for descriptions of videos containing this work.

Copyright Date:

Copyright Holder:
Juan Downey

Downey, Juan

Broadcast as Episode 511 of the 1989 season of "New Television."

See the record for "New Television, Episode 406 (1988)" for descriptions of videos containing this work.

"A complex compilation of Chilean mythology and politics. Using a variety of narratives, points of view, source materials, and film styles, this tale of a tragic love triangle is set against suffering and political strife." -- WGBH press release

The story of Harry, John, Mona, and Lisa is narrated by Harry in short, nonlinear snippets. Harry tells of his relationship with Mona, a woman who (if we are to believe him) carried on simultaneous affairs with Harry and John, ending up with John. Harry spends time with a woman named Lisa, who eventually leaves him in response to his obsession with Mona and John. Harry's anger and hostility towards Mona is undisguised. At times, computer text of his story appears in the background when he is speaking, reminding us that he is an actor, playing a part. The performers who portray Harry, Mona, John, and Lisa weave in and out of abstract physical interactions, performing movements reminiscent of interpretive dance. In a smoke-and-statue filled storefront, various partnerings are depicted among the group.

This somewhat sordid tale is set against the backdrop of political unrest in modern day Chile. Scenes from the streets of Santiago and from Chilean television are interspersed, featuring images of police brutality, then-President General Augusto Pinochet, and the visiting Pope John Paul II. Dramatized scenes starring an iconographic "Prophet" and a devotional "Motherland" serve to further illustrate themes depicted in both the documentary footage and the fictional love triangle. The work is approximately 27 minutes in length.

Downey, Juan

Downey, Juan

New Television (Producer in Association)

von Heflin, Kirk (Offline Editor)
De Pierro, Joe (Online Editor)

Meyer, Steve (Harry)
Van Kerhof, Monique (Mona)
Oudendyk, Rob (John)
Meynard, Evelyne (Lisa)
Donoso, Maria Isabel (Motherland)
Landea, Felipe (Prophet)

Interpersonal relations
Politics and culture

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