Te Amo (Made in Chile)

Director: Sergio Castilla
Screenwriters: Sergio Castilla

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival


In this, his latest film, Sergio Castilla continues to explore (as in Gringuito) the plight of the displaced teenager who is native to one land but raised in another and eventually forced to return to the first as a stranger. In Te Amo, the lead character Sam is raised in New York for eight years, and then returns to Chile with his mother after his parents divorce. Unloved by his father and seemingly abandoned by his type-A mother, Sam is left in the "care" of his sexually abusive nanny. His cohorts at the American school are Mike, an American whose father has made a fortune from Chilean onions; Isabel, whose mother suffers from depression that stems from the disappearance of her father and brother; and Daniela, whose mother is dead and whose father is an alcoholic. On summer vacation together, the four find an abandoned house and there act out (not without humor) the evils that have befallen them. As they dialogue and play-act, an empathetic maturity arises and catharsis ensues.

Castilla fashions the film through the teenagers' eyes. The frenetic first act marks the glory of running away and the necessity to shed parental values. With a wink toward Blair Witch, the teenagers create a slasher film with the theme, "Do What Your Daddy Tells You." Straddling the line between adolescence and young adulthood, the characters move toward maturation with the realization they have all been deeply wounded. In the final poignant act, they unmask their vulnerability and solidify their union by purging some demons and embracing others.

— Andrea Alsberg

Screening Details

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