In 1963 Joris Ivens made, together with students from the university in Santiago de Chile, a poetic film mosaic of the Chilean harbour city Valparaiso, called …à Valparaiso. This film is part of the cultural heritage of this city, in 2003 elected UNESCO World heritage. Amanda Panizza Hevia published a plan to reconstruct the Casa de Los Siete Espejos (‘The House with Seven Mirrors’) as part of a new department of the regional archives of Valparaiso.

In the 20th century this House of Seven Mirrors housed the Roland Bar and had a certain reputation among sailors, intellectuals, bohemians and artists. It is located in the ‘barrio bohemian’ or ‘barrio cina’, and together with the Yako Bar, American Bar, Bar La Playa, Liberty Bar, El ‘69’, El ‘66’, Miss Merry and La Casa Amarilla shaped a bohemian atmosphere of unique freedom on various fields: culture & the arts, gender and politics. This bohemian culture deserves to be saved and revitalized, according to Amanda Panizza. For this she made a plan to reconstruct La Casa de los Siete Espejos as part of a department of the Regional Archives of Valparaiso. However of the original house is hardly anything left, in fact only the memory in the minds of the people, some archival documents and a shed. So Panizza based her reconstruction of the building on two artists and their art works : Joris Ivens with is film images an set photos and Sergio Larrain with his series of photos. The film sequence in the Roland bar which Ivens filmed is a key moment in the film, an explosive switch, caused by a fight between two men who competed for a woman. The bar-sequence is in black-and-white, but when glasses of beer and wine are thrown to one of the seven mirrors, the scarfs of glass turn into a red color of blood and opens the colored final part of the film. The European Foundation Joris Ivens provided Panizza of the necessary photos to make the reconstruction of the various rooms of the bar.

It would be great if Panizza’s reconstruction and plans could be realized. There is another example how Ivens’ film images influenced the saving of cultural heritage: His film The Bridge was one of the arguments to keep the Lift Bridge in Rotterdam as a sculpture, and a monument in Rotterdam. Otherwise it would have been destroyed, and instead became an icon of the harbour city.


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