The Lifeguard

Category |Personal Story, Social Issues
Year | 2011
Country | Chile
Running time | 64’
Format | HD
Production | Errante Producciones Limitada
Director | Maite Alberdi

A new day dawns at the beach. Lifeguard Mauricio starts his daily routine: setting up his observation tower, checking the weather forecast and the tides, and updating his logbook. With his deep tan and dreadlocks, Mauricio looks like a chilled-out surfer dude, but in reality, this serious young man is anything but. Rules are rules, and he strictly enforces the ban on alcohol, unleashed dogs and barbecues on his beach. Also, prevention is better than cure: he keeps a watchful eye on the bathers, reprimanding them when necessary with a shrill blast on his whistle. But the vacationers really don't appreciate being ordered around. Neither is Mauricio popular among his fellow lifeguards. Mauricio painstakingly reports every instance of absence by his competitor Jean Pierre, who in turn dismisses Mauricio as a "fake lifeguard." Mauricio is, he concedes, well-suited to finding lost children, but is no use at all in a real emergency: "He blows the whistle and everything, but he doesn't go in the water." How will Mauricio cope when his preventive measures are no use any more, and some boys are at risk of drowning? The Chilean filmmaker followed Mauricio for several days, without providing any commentary, revealing the position of his protagonist among both the beachgoers and his colleagues in just a few, highly telling scenes.

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