Hot Docs Review: The Fabulous Gold Harvesting Machine (Alfredo Pourailly De La Plaza ,2024)

On the occasion of his 56th birthday, Chilean gold miner Toto writes a journal entry in which he notes, “There are hardly any miners anymore.”

Given the amount of labour he puts into his work in relation to his comparatively small yield, it’s hardly surprising that Toto is among the last of a dying breed. With some underlying health concerns on top of the fact that this is simply very demanding (and occasionally dangerous) work, it’s no surprise that it’s taking its toll on Toto, who, frankly, looks older than his 56 years at the outset of the film. But he has to keep working regardless because retirement isn’t an option and, really, it’s all he knows.

Starting off in 2017 and continuing on up to 2023, The Fabulous Gold Harvesting Machine follows the story of Toto and his son Jorge, who takes it upon himself to come up with a plan to help his father, eventually settling on the idea of building a device to help Toto with this very taxing labour. As the story unfolds, the film develops into a character study, examining the relationship between the stubborn, pessimistic Toto and his son, who is often frustrated at his father’s point of view. This relationship forms the emotional core of The Fabulous Gold Harvesting Machine, which is ultimately a film about hope.

Posted on by Paul in Hot Docs