As a result of World Oceans Day, on June 8, 2023, Patagonia Films released, for free and digitally, its most recent documentary, “Corazón Salado” by Chilean director Daniel Casado, who has previously developed audiovisual projects for the Patagonia films team, and brings to the screen this moving piece that takes us into the struggle of the Kawésqar people to maintain and preserve the waters that for generations have been the livelihood and part of the intrinsic culture of one of the few nomadic tribes that inhabit the national territory and of which there are still living human treasures.
This fight takes place in the heart of the Chilean Patagonia, specifically in the Kawésqar National Reserve, between the western archipelagos of the provinces of Última Esperanza and Magallanes located in the region of the same name to the latter. The reserve has land protection but does not contemplate the maritime zone, this being the apple of discord in this dispute between a small and fragile Kawésqar community and a salmon industry that seems to be insurmountable.
The plot revolves around Ramón Navarro, a renowned surfer who from an early age formed a deep connection with the sea, diving and fishing with his father who is dedicated to this activity. Ramón shares this bond with the sea with Leticia Caro, who, like him, also inherited a deep understanding of the sea from his father, Reinaldo Caro, both descendants of the nomadic Kawésqar tribe, who before colonization roamed the sea freely as an inherent extension of their bodies. The documentary unites the experiences of two apparently opposite protagonists but at the same time with important similarities such as speaking the same language, the language of the ocean and the concern for the protection of the sea as a form of retribution, Ramón and Leticia inherited the same “Corazón Salado” (Salty Heart) .
The film is not strident cinematically, nor should it take your breath away in front of the immensity of nature or a vast ocean in which we should dive or kneel, this documentary does not have a great visual appeal nor a meticulously approached script, and it is that footage, in my opinion, that is not intended to take us for a walk through Patagonia, but rather transports us bluntly to a battlefield, concentrating the viewer’s focus and attention on the main argument of this contest.
Through the lens of truth, we can see the havoc of the salmon farming industry on a delicate ecosystem under duress, in which fish farms bring chaos and anguish to an entire community that for centuries has understood and respected the marine territory from the perspective of coexistence; as a source of food, trades, leisure and culture. The Kawésqar National Reserve, is a terrestrial zone protected by the state of Chile, it is considered a pristine area dedicated to conservation, but counterproductively the maritime zone of this territory, lacks protection at all and is an area currently depredated by large salmon industry.
Infestations of sea lice, parasites, antibiotics and chemicals strangle the very fabric of marine life. The persistent pollution in one of the natural emblems of Patagonia and the world, reflects the immeasurable unconsciousness of a negligent State and a harmful industry, that contemplates a single legacy for the inhabitants and the ecosystem, a vast marine desert, a cancer that rots everything.
Now, we leave you with the film “Corazón Salado” by Patagonia Films.