Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘Haydee and the Flying Fish’

Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘Haydee and the Flying Fish’

Many documentaries are of historical events. The very nature of non-fiction, lends itself far better to true stories than fiction and its, “based off of a true story” disclaimers do. Sometimes, these true stories are pleasant, and about enjoyable moments in history. Occasionally, however, non-fiction cinema touches upon stories you know to be true, and yet, sincerely wish were not.

Pachi Busto’s Haydee and the Flying Fish is one such documentary. Forty years after the brutal Pinochet regime’s takeover of Chile, the titular Haydee finds herself literally and metaphorically healing from the scars of the military junta. Justice, may be served in the form of a court sentencing, however, there is the mystery of what actually happened to Haydee that must be simultaneously unravelled. Be fairly warned, this is a documentary with some very graphic and serious subject matter. It is not for the faint of heart. On particularly heartbreaking scene involves Haydee needing to have her blood drawn, an event that proves traumatic. I personally grimaced on many an occasion during this film.

The aesthetic of Haydee and the Flying Fish, is an original yet peculiar one. Large portions of this film involve still photographs, playing on screen with voiceover narration. At times this felt a bit alienating, however, it may ultimately be an attempt to create an effect that lingers. This is ultimately the intention of Busto’s film. For as much as the film is a piece of restorative justice, the larger point being made is that some scars remain and will remain. This is a well-made and crucially important documentary, but viewers should be aware of the content before they go in.

 

This post was written by
Thomas Wishloff is currently an MA student at York University. He is new to the Toronto Film Scene, but has periodically written and podcasted for several now defunct ventures, and has probably commented on a forum with you at some point. The ex-Edmontonian has been known to enjoy a good board game, and claims to know the secret to the best popcorn in the world.
Comments are closed.