Still from La comida, by Sybil Brintrup and Magali Meneses, 1983

The photographer, screenwriter, and director Magali Meneses was born in Chile in 1950. She studied art at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago and received further training in sound, editing, and cinematography. She has also worked in video art, the most prominent example being La comida (The meal, 1983), created with fellow artist Sybil Brintrup (b. 1954). Collected by the National Gallery of Canada and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Universidad de Chile, La comida received first place at the Concurso Nacional de Video Creativo at the Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro in 1983. The video shows two women, Meneses and Brintrup, preparing in a contemplative yet almost sexual way a meal that consists of breaking and eating piures, a type of mollusk that resembles a rock inside of which one can find what looks like a mass of organs.

Meneses is also the creator of a vast number of documentaries, many of them shot in video. Some of her most important films include Todas íbamos a ser reinas (We were all going to be queens, 1983), about the Chilean feminist movement; Wichán (1994), a fictional narrative in the Mapuche language about the cacique Pascual Coña; Pichanga: Profecías a falta de ecuaciones (Pickup game: Prophecies in the absence of equations, 1994), a documentary musical based on the poems of the Chilean poet Nicanor Parra; and El ojo limpio (The clean eye, 1995), a tribute to the Chilean poet, diplomat, and educator Gabriela Mistral. In addition to her work in film, Meneses has also worked on television productions, including ten "telefilms" for the series Laberinto, made for Televisión Nacional de Chile, the country's public service broadcaster. She also has maintained an outstanding teaching career. Between 1996 and 1998 she taught a feature-film workshop at the Universidad Arcis in Valparaíso, and in 1999 she became vice chancellor of the Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. On her return to Chile she worked for two years as director of the Escuela de Cine at the Universidad de Arcis. She has won numerous national and international awards and is constantly invited to participate as a jury member for film competitions and festivals. In 2014 she obtained a degree in cinema with a specialization in documentary filmmaking from the Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano in Santiago.

—Marcela Guerrero

Selected Videos

1983 La comida (created with Sybil Brintrup)

1983 Todas íbamos a ser reinas (director)

1995 El ojo limpio (director)

2010 Secreto a voces (director)

2014 Un domingo de primavera (director)

Selected Bibliography

Arteaga, Ana María, and Magali Meneses. Nosotras y la organización: Guía para la formulación de proyectos. Santiago: CEM, 1989.

Casares, Emilio, et al., eds. Diccionario del cine iberoamericano: España, Portugal y América. Madrid: SGAE, 2011.

Mouesca, Jacqueline. El documental chileno. Santiago: LOM, 2005.

Sepúlveda, Magda. "Metáforas de la higiene y la iluminación en la ciudad poetizada bajo el Chile autoritario." Acta Literaria, no. 37 (2008): 67–80.

Villasmil, Alejandra. Deus ex media: 10 bienal de video y artes mediales; 11 al 22 de enero–2012. Santiago: Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes, 2012.