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MSU Cinema International presents Chilean documentary film “Albertina and the Dead” This Week

Murray State University's Cinema International is screening the Chilean documentary film “Albertina and the Dead” this week.

The Chilean documentary, directed by archaeologist César Borie, showcases the power of older women in indigenous traditions. It tells the story of San Miguel, a community in Chile built over indigenous tombs where the mystical Albertina has served as the matriarch of the community, instilling traditions and keeping the dead on good terms by communicating with a deity, which the community worships during a ritual carnival week.

Murray State Associate Professor of Spanish Ben Post says that Albertina is a conduit to the spirit world.

“She's also the priestess of a very particular religious entity being called something like ‘big Lord carnival,’” said Post. “And we see in the film, every year when carnival begins, they dig him up from a grave, sort of like a figure made of cloth, and during this period, the people give offerings to him and have various sorts of spiritual and mystical encounters with him. And she can speak with him.”

Director of Murray State Cinema International Therese Saint Paul thinks the film is fascinating because of how Albertina is portrayed. “I found that she embodies the strength of women in, you know, in all traditions, and we also noticed that the village is extremely poor. They survive in these difficult conditions. So, holding on to these traditions actually helped them do that.”

"Albertina and the Dead" is being screened on Thursday, Feb. 15, and Saturday, Feb. 17, at 7:30 pm in Faculty Hall, room 208, on Murray State University's campus. Both the screenings and post-film discussions are free and open to the public.

For more information on the MSU Cinema International program, including upcoming films and how to donate, visit its website.

Hurt is a Livingston County native and has been a political consultant for a little over a decade. He currently hosts a local talk show “River City Presents”, produced by Paducah2, which features live musical performances, academic discussion, and community spotlights.
Melanie Davis-McAfee graduated from Murray State University in 2018 with a BA in Music Business. She has been working for WKMS as a Music and Operations Assistant since 2017. Melanie hosts the late-night alternative show Alien Lanes, Fridays at 11 pm with co-host Tim Peyton. She also produces Rick Nance's Kitchen Sink and Datebook and writes Sounds Good stories for the web.
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