Dreams of the Castle
Los sueños del castillo
- René Ballesteros
- 71 min
- René Ballesteros (La Ballesta Films), Johanne Schatz (La Ballesta Films)
Who commands the dreams within the castle walls? The said castle is a teenagers’ prison deep in the countryside of southern Chile. The nightmares cause the detainees to scream so loudly that the wardens are troubled. The dreams are inhabited by black horses, sometimes play out in the cells, where the sleepers believe themselves to be awake, and often bring back the deceased – grandparents or victims of the crimes for which these dreamers have been sentenced. Deep in their cells, the young prisoners recollect these dreams for the camera in an uneasy voice that reveals their fear of the next dream. Yet, they still occasionally ask the wardens to tell them scary stories. Los sueños del castillo is clearly aware that these dreams reflect the dreamers’ situation and, on this count, the task of collecting them evokes Sophie Bruneau’s exploration of workers’ dreams in Rêver sous le capitalisme – itself inspired by the seminal The Third Reich of Dreams by Charlotte Beradt. But the confinement, the feeling of guilt and the faraway families may not be the only things that haunt the nights at the castle. Images of the surrounding countryside increasingly slip in between the accounts, and gently weave onto this web of dreams a magical essence that demands to be taken seriously.
René Ballesteros (Chile, 1975), a psychologist, filmmaker and screenwriter, worked with street kids and in prisons for adolescents before studying cinema at Université Paris VIII, EICTV (Cuba) and Le Fresnoy (France). La Quemadura, his debut feature documentary won the 2010 Joris Ivens award at the 2010 Cinéma du réel. Los sueños del castillo, his second documentary won the award the Best Chilean Feature Documentary award at the Valdivia International Film Festival International in 2018.