1997, Movies

Chile, la memoria obstinada (1997, Patricio Guzman)

This is an interesting, albeit sort of confused, film based around the decision of exiled director Patricio Guzman to bring his Battle of Chile back to Chile to show it to audiences who had never seen it (as it was banned by Pinochet’s government and, according to Guzman, no theatres were interested in showing it).

Guzman oddly chooses to have people reenact some things and have people march down the street playing an old revolutionary anthem. I’m not sure what the point is, though the reactions in the crowd are kind of incredible. The film is scored by Guzman’s old uncle trying (and failing) to play Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ sonata, which seems thematically appropriate but gets annoying. Anyway, we get survivors reminiscing, students getting angry about the movie – as they are either brainwashed or believe that no matter how bad Pinochet was, Allende was worse – and other things. It’s a bit of a mess.

The film ends with a group of people reacting to the first screening, with most of them in tears. It is by far the most moving part of the film and the most effective.

This is only worth watching if you’ve seen Battle of Chile. But though it’s confused, it does have some value to it.


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