Sunday, 23 August 2009

Death on Film

A new film out in Argentina, Imagen Final, deals with the onscreen death of cameraman Leonardo Henrichsen in Chile in 1973.
Henrichsen died on Jun. 29, 1973, covering the tanquetazo, an uprising by a group of officers of the Second Armoured Tank Regiment in Chile, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Roberto Souper. They rose up against a series of arrests ordered by the military brass following an earlier failed conspiracy against Allende.

The revolt, which turned out to be a rehearsal for the coup led in September 1973 by Pinochet, was put down the same day by armed forces loyal to Allende, commanded by general Carlos Prats. [...]
Despite lasting only a few hours, the tanquetazo not only left a toll of 22 civilians dead but also some 500 bullet holes in the facades of the La Moneda palace and the Defence Ministry building.

But unquestionably the most hard-hitting image associated with the attempted coup was Henrichsen's footage of the corporal who aimed and shot at him in the street a few metres away from La Moneda palace, and immediately afterward of the soldier who fired on him from a truck on the corporal's orders.
The Journalist Who Caught His Own Killer - On Film (IPS)

Unusual though this situation was, Henrichsen is not the only one to have recorded his own death in this way. Willy Retto captured his last moments, if not the actual instance of his death, with a stills camera in Uchuraccay, Peru. More recently, Brad Will filmed his own killing in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006.

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