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Valeria Sarmiento (born 29 October 1948) is a film editor, director and screenwriter best known for her work in France, Portugal and her native Chile. She has worked both in film and television, directing 20 feature films, documentaries and television series'. She is the widow of Chilean film director Raúl Ruiz (1941-2011) with whom she collaborated for decades as regular editor and co-writer. She has also edited films for Luc Moullet, Robert Kramer and Ventura Pons and is a Guggenheim Fellow (1988).

Valeria Sarmiento
Born (1948-10-29) 29 October 1948 (age 70)
OccupationFilm editor, director, screenwriter
Years active1972-present


Sarmiento was born in the Chilean municipality of Valparaíso and was first exposed to film at the age of five, becoming familiar with the work of Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock and others.[1] She rarely saw French films due to censorship but, thanks to what she refers to as a "moment of magic", was able to watch Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless (1960) at the age of twelve.[1] She went on to study film and philosophy at the University of Valparaíso and married filmmaker Raúl Ruiz in 1969. In 1974, the couple were forced to move to Paris[2] due to the 1973 Chilean coup d'état of Augusto Pinochet.[1]

Sarmiento made her directorial debut with the documentary Un sueño como de colores (1972) about a group of Chilean women dedicated to striptease. Her later work as a director, usually in melodrama, romantic drama and costume drama, has also often featured strong female characters who face machismo and sexism.[3] Her debut feature Notre mariage (1984) was a Grand Prix winner for Best New Director at the San Sebastián International Film Festival,[4] her 1991 film Amelia Lópes O'Neill was entered into the 41st Berlin International Film Festival[5] and her Napoleonic war epic Lines of Wellington competed for the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice International Film Festival.[6]

A symposium on Sarmiento's feminism was held at Stanford University in May 2008 [1] and the Cinémathèque Française ran a Sarmiento retrospective in October 2018.[2]


Year Title Role
Director Screenwriter Editor Actor
1972 Un sueño como de colores Yes
Poeísa popular: la teoría y la práctica Yes Yes
Los minuteros Yes Yes
The Expropriation Yes
1975 Dialogues of Exiles Yes Yes
1977 Dog's Dialogue Yes
1978 Genèse d'un repas Yes
The Suspended Vocation Yes
1979 Le mal du pays Yes Yes
Gens du nulle part, gens de toutes parts Yes Yes Yes
1980 La borgne Yes
Guns Yes
1981 The Territory Yes
1982 On Top of the Whale Yes
El hombre cuando es hombre Yes Yes
1983 Les minutes d'un faiseur de film Yes
Three Crowns of the Sailor Yes
City of Pirates Yes
1984 7 faux raccords Yes
Notre mariage Yes Yes
1985 Voyage d'une main Yes Yes
Treasure Island Yes
1987 Brise-glace Yes
1990 The Blind Owl Yes
Amelia Lópes O'Neill Yes Yes
1994 Viaggio clandestino - Vite di santi e di peccaroti Yes
1995 Wind Water Yes
Elle Yes
1997 Le film à venir Yes
Genealogies of a Crime Yes
1998 L'inconnu de Strasbourg Yes Yes
Carlos Fuentes: Un voyage dans les temps Yes
2000 Love Torn in a Dream Yes
2001 Savage Souls Yes
2002 Rosa la china Yes Yes
2003 That Day Yes
A Place Among the Living Yes
2004 Edipo Yes
2005 The Lost Domain Yes
2006 Klimt Yes
2008 Secrets Yes Yes
2010 A Closed Book Yes
Mysteries of Lisbon Yes
2012 Lines of Wellington (conceived by Ruiz, shot by Sarmiento) Yes
2013 Maria Graham: Diary of a Residence in Chile Yes
2017 The Wandering Soap Opera (shot by Ruiz in 1990, completed by Sarmiento) Yes
2018 The Black Book of Father Dinis Yes
2020 The Tango of the Widower (shot by Ruiz in 1967, completed by Sarmiento) Yes


  1. ^ a b c Audé, Françoise (1985). "Entretien avec Valeria Sarmiento". Positif. 296: 23 – via Screen Studies Collection.
  2. ^ 1942-, Torres, Augusto M. (1 January 2008). 720 directores de cine. Ariel. OCLC 434211769.
  3. ^ Jacqueline., Mouesca, (1 January 2005). El documental chileno. LOM Ediciones. OCLC 66381088.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  4. ^ "Morelia Film Fest".
  5. ^ "Berlinale: 1991 Programme". Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Venezia 69". labiennale. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)


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