Filmmaker Cristián Jiménez in attendance

Chilean director Cristián Jiménez pulls off a delicately beautiful high-wire act with his second feature film, Bonsái. He opens by letting us know the ending—“Emilia dies but Julio doesn’t. The rest is all fiction.”—compelling us to watch as he gracefully unfolds the tragic romance of a young man whose past is catching up with him.

Julio and Emilia meet and fall in love, tenderly and awkwardly, as students of literature at the university. Eight years later they are no longer together, and Julio is having an awkward affair with his neighbor Blanca, a translator. In an effort to hold Blanca’s interest, he brags that he is assisting an important novelist named Gazmuri to write his latest novel—a half truth. But when Gazmuri decides not to hire him, Julio can’t bring himself to tell Blanca and instead writes his own novel to share with Blanca, claiming it is the work of Gazmuri. In fact, it is the story of his own lost love and youth with Emilia.

Cristián Jiménez was born in 1975 in Valdivia, Chile. Before becoming a filmmaker, he wrote short stories and studied sociology in Santiago, Heidelberg, and London. As a child he dreamed of being a stand-up comedian. Bonsái, his second feature film, was selected for the Cinéfondation Residence 2010.

Watch on YouTube

Cristián Jiménez
Spanish with English subtitles
Running Time
95 minutes