Andergraun: Pure Valdivian Punk

It’s hard to imagine a purer form of punk. Liter bottles of Baltica (Chile’s equivalent of Old English), tattoos in dimly lit apartments on a work bench, hand illustrated flyers, an amped up bass and twenty drunken fans moshing in a shack. “Andergraun” captures the essence of the punk scene in the southern Chilean city of Valdivia from the street level.

Santiago Chile

The documentary, filmed in 2008, follows the daily routine of three local punk bands: Los Cebados, La Santa Resaka and Porotos Kon Riendas. The film uses a mix of footage from live shows and sit-down interviews in garages, back yards and poster-clad bedrooms of parents’ houses.

Santiago Chile

Directed by Rodrigo Jara Lizana and produced by Acá Comunicaciones, the film focuses most on the members and their motives. “I don’t want to be another number, to work for fifty years and then die,” states one member in the opening scene. “Punk is about the struggle and having a good time, (punk es diversión y lucha).”

The name itself, “Andergraun,” is a Chilean rendition of the English word “Underground,” and somehow sums up the feeling the groups generate. These bands are about as garage as possible. Two of them didn’t even have a garage, an upstairs bedroom and back yard would have to do instead.

Some nights the group is out drinking beer on the street tagging walls and dodging cops. The next day a rehearsal. The weekend nears and photocopies of hand drawn flyers get posted. All Do-it-Yourself. Then the show held in a sort of tin metal shack. Tattooed fans and about two light bulbs sway to the music.

Santiago Chile

The documentary is mostly hand shot, with an entertaining animation mid way through based off one of the band’s flyers about a revolution of vases over pots. It adds something to the documentary in general, encouraging the viewer to participate in some strange way.

Overall Lizana is very successful in getting these otherwise tough guys (and a girl) to lower their guard and talk about what makes them tick. From politics to the motives behind the music the band members speak honestly to the camera. That, and the hand-shot footage, strengthen the picture’s already authentic feel.

Andergraun is showing at Centro Arte Alameda for CP$2,500 (US$4) through July 8. The documentary runs 46 minutes and although it is only in rough Spanish for foreigners, it is still enjoyable and easy to follow.

Centro Arte Alameda
Av. Libertador Bernardo O`Higgins 139
Metro Baquedano
See website for show times:

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