Cinema and pedagogy: Cien niños esperando un tren

The films in this session explore two of the biggest pedagogical experiences of cinema in Latin America: the film workshop for children (1985-2015) facilitated by Chilean researcher and teacher Alicia Vega, filmed by Ignacio Agüero, and the paradigm case of the Santa Fe School of Documentary Film in Argentina, founded by Fernando Birri in 1956, giving rise to a new cinema throughout the continent.

In the last years of the Pinochet dictatorship, with a mixture of curiosity and joy, Cien niños esperando un tren (Ignacio Agüero, 1988) shows the first contact with cinema of a group of children aged between 4 and 12, from the district of Lo Hermida on the outskirts of Santiago de Chile. In the late fifties, Alicia Vega’s educational methodology, working with the most vulnerable sectors, set out to propose a participatory experience in which children got to develop their creative abilities with a practical approach to cinematographic language. Using limited materials, they built pre-cinematic devices such as the zoetrope and the thaumatrope, made a film with paper frames and visited a cinema for the first time.

Tire Dié is the result of a pioneering collaborative process of students at the Cinematographic Institute of the Universidad del Litoral, under the supervision of Argentine filmmaker Fernando Birri, over four years. The film presents the situation on the outskirts of Santa Fe, where every day children ran begging after the train that ran through their city. Presented as the first filmed social survey, it was a low-budget venture, preferring, in Birri’s words, “imperfect meaning to meaningless perfection”. The filmmaker also maintained that, in this work, “it is be the people themselves who take part in the cinematographic event”.

Tire Dié, students at the Santa Fe School of Documentary Film, under the supervision of Fernando Birri, 1958-1960, 16mm, 33’

Cien niños esperando un tren, Ignacio Agüero, 1988, 16mm, 55’

Digital screening. Copy of Tire Dié courtesy of Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales (INCAA). Copy of Cien niños esperando un tren courtesy of the author. 


12 March 2023


The Auditorium
Admission fee

€ 4 / € 3 Concessions
5-session pass: € 15 / € 12 Concessions
Friends of the CCCB and Teaching licence holders (mandatory education): free of charge

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