Interview with Lucio A. Rojas (TRAUMA)

Trauma. Lucio A. Rojas


T&K: TRAUMA is more than the average Rape & Revenge – movie. How did you get the idea for the movie?

Lucio A. Rojas: I did not think of anything. As a Chilean, we are aware of what we experienced because of the brutal dictatorship of General Pinochet that we had for 17 years. We all know the atrocities and abuses committed in one of the most sadistic, violent and cruel dictatorships in history. Tens of thousands of tortured and thousands of disappeared and worst of all, impunity for these acts.

In addition, we live in a country or rather a continent, where sexual abuse towards women is a daily occurrence and we are immersed in a very aggressive, violent society that respects our neighbor less every day. That is why everything that surrounds Latin Americans is sordid, dirty and one grows in socially difficult environments. Violence is part of our existence and we try to capture it most truthfully in our cinema.


T&K: You already mentioned Augusto Pinochet and the dark time your country had to go through when  was the leader. While Pinochet is not a complete stranger in Europe, many people here may not be aware of the Chilean history. What can you tell us about this era?

Lucio A. Rojas: It is the darkest and darkest part of our history. It was a dictatorship that began on September 11, 1973 and lasted until 1990. I would say, that we are still in dictatorship, and from the moment we are governed by the 1980 Constitution, the work and grace of Pinochet and his political henchmen.

This dictator, came from the hand of the Chilean Right and supported by the military of my country, which to the only thing that has been dedicated in our history, is to kill civilians and innocents.

Tens of thousands of tortured, with the most brutal and disgusting techniques possible. Thousands of missing people who probably never know where they are. The impoverished country, all the companies were privatized. It was the worst thing that could happen to our country and 45 years after the military coup, it still does not recover, especially with many supporters of the dictator and an ultra right that is coming back with force.


T&K: Not only are some Pinochet references in TRAUMA, his name is also mentioned. How much of the story is based on facts?

Lucio A. Rojas: Everything is based on real events. That is the most violent of all, because the sadism and brutality that we show on screen, even falls short of what really happened in Chile. In this dictatorship, tortures and abuses were executed that far surpass what we have in the film. Sexual rapes of dozens of men towards the victims. Dogs were trained to rape women, relatives were forced to rape others, in front of other relatives. All kinds of abuse that occurs to them, were committed in those years. That’s why what we tell in the film is a small part and I assure you that it’s softened to show it on screen of what happened in Chile and in many Latin American countries during our dictatorships.

That’s the saddest and most discouraging part of the movie.


T&K: People compare TRAUMA with A SERBIAN FILM. Can you understand why? And did you feel any kind of influence by A SERBIAN FILM?

Lucio A. Rojas: Yes, they compare quite a lot to TRAUMA with A SERBIAN FILM. No wonder, because our movie probably must be the most violent and extreme of recent years. Perhaps the most extreme after A SERBIAN FILM. But before falling into the extreme, our interest was to make a good movie. The comparison also lies in having as inspiration the political situations of each country that socially and politically transformed the citizens.

I respect the work of A SERBIAN FILM and even though it was not a cinematographic or narrative reference, it was a great inspiration to make a daring, brave film and not thinking about the mainstream circuits or being politically correct. We simply made the film that we felt we had to do, even at the risk of having problems of distribution or in the market. But for that, there are many other movies. Titles like A SERBIAN FILM or TRAUMA, take the viewer towards another obligation that art has sometimes, which is to bother and provoke the viewer. That already makes this type of films unique.


T&K: You have to be 18 years old to watch TRAUMA in Germany. Yet, the version is cut by about 13 minutes. How do you feel about this?

Lucio A. Rojas: Yes, it is a pity that the version that is available now has so many minutes less. I am a defender of the freedoms of expression of all kinds, especially artistic ones and I like that the content of the works is delivered to the consumers, as they are. Then they must decide if they want to see it or not.

But they are laws of the market and we have to accept it, but what affects us most in this sense, is that with those 13 minutes less of film, there are some things that are not well understood, because in that edition the first scene is not complete which is fundamental to the understanding of the film.

Also, I think that with those 13 minutes less the film is at most for over 14 years. I hope that the distributor in the year will edit the full version.


T&K: As mentioned above, TRAUMA was really brutal. Will you try to top this with your next movie or are you going in a different direction?

Lucio A. Rojas: The truth, I think that overcoming the brutality of TRAUMA would be a very difficult job. And I do not know if it made much sense, because it would have many distribution problems. The next projects, go in a different direction. Now, we are about to shoot a short film called CONTAGIUM (co written with Ximena del Solar who is one of the protagonists), which is part of the international biological horror anthology ILL, in co-production with Italy and Germany.

At the end of the year, I will film a film called FASCINARE. While it is not violent, extreme or has the brutality of TRAUMA, if we could consider that it will remain controversy and controversy, it is about a pedophile who fights all his life to prevent the monster inside.

I am the executive producer of a wonderful project called 28, which is an anthology of 5 horror short films made by different directors, written and created by Sandra Arriagada.

In addition, we are writing a very ambitious project called LAMIAE, a horror and fantasy film, which will be filmed in August 2020 between Argentina and Chile. It is a co-production between Mexico, France, Chile and Argentina. It is a very ambitious, large project that probably has an extensive post-production process and will be ready by the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022. But we’ll see.

Although they will not be as brutal as TRAUMA, we do know that I lead a team that will make the most risky and interesting genre film projects from Chile to the world.


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