El salvavidas

by Maite Alberdi, Chile, 2011

Mauricio is a lifeguard who loves order. He puts out all the flags and writes down the sea conditions for that day in an old notebook. He meticulously cleans up all the rubbish from the day before, because if he doesn’t do it, no one will. His senses are alert. For him it’s essential to watch, be patient and not get distracted for even a moment. He is undoubtedly the most responsible lifeguard on the beach. Mauricio believes that a good lifeguard applies preventative measures on the beach to avoid mishaps, and that if he has to go in the water it’s because he hasn’t done his job well. But the lifeguard at the neighbouring tower questions his real motives and thinks that Mauricio is afraid of the water. This fellow worker thinks his rituals are pointless. He doesn’t care that Mauricio gets angry when he turns up late or because he reads the newspaper instead of keeping watch, because he knows that if someone needs to be rescued, he’s the one that will dive into the water.

So, Mauricio has to keep watch over not only his area but also that of his colleague, who neglects it. As he does his job, an eight-year-old boy called Lucas follows him about and copies him, hoping to be like him when he’s older. Mauricio teaches him the rules, because his biggest concern is that things run according to his own code. Unfortunately, the people who go to the beach in the summer only want to forget that they’re told what to do throughout the year. Families have barbecues where they’re not allowed, stubborn drunks who don’t want to come out of the water, and mothers neglect their lost kids. 

Nobody wants to listen to Mauricio, and he’s not prepared to go in the water and risk his life, because he wants to stick to his principles. Unfortunately, he’ll have to rely on Jean Pierre, the colleague he detests, and this will cost him the admiration of his young friend Lucas. In this way, Mauricio, like all the holidaymakers on the beach, becomes another spectator of the rescue, which will be a tragic catastrophe.

Festivals & awards

Valdivia 2011: Public Award
Rencontres des Cinémas d‘Amérique Latine 2012: TLT Award
Milano 2012: in competition
Guadalajara 2012: Special Jury Award
in competition in Milano, Coquimbo, New Zealand, Biarritz, Taiwan, Poland 2012


Original Title
El salvavidas
El salvavidas
Directed by
Maite Alberdi
64 min.

Pro Material

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