Fascism Retakes Chile
Elderbear | Loma Linda, Aztlan | 08/30/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
""It's raining on Santiago and Easter Island," the early morning radio proclaimed on September 11, 1973, a perfectly clear day. Over and over this mysterious announcement repeated between peaceful, upbeat music. Although it never rained in Chile on that day, a political storm enveloped the nation as the fascist forces of Augusto Pinochet executed a coup d'etat against the democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende. This movie is an attempt to tell the story of that coup.Although the movie is a pseudo-documentary, the story-telling style is somewhat disorienting. It assaults the viewer with multiple points of view without a consistent narrator. It leaps back and forth through time, sometimes with only subtle cues on which to orient. Although this makes the story harder to follow, it makes the movie more impactful, helping to convey a sense of the chaos of the coup. This is a French movie with English subtitles--which makes for the interesting experience of "Chileans" speaking French and reading French signs!The film consistently juxtaposed the personal and the political. As the coup is unfolding, we see tearful good-byes as men leave their wives to defend the democratically elected government from fascist thugs. I don't think I'm particularly sentimental, but I found myself tearing up several times during the movie. One of the most haunting scenes for me was a close-up of Allende's wedding ring as he held an automatic rifle during his final stand against Pinochet's goons. The camera pulls back, showing the last few cabinet members preparing to sell their lives for democracy. Liberty, economic democracy, and dignity are portrayed as family values--antithetical to vicious repression of the corporate sponsored military junta.The movie includes Allende's final speech. Powerful last words before he was assassinated by the military. An actual recording of the speech is played (you can hear jamming attempts)--this is not a French actor reading Allende's lines. He chose to die fighting the forces of oppression rather than to leave the country with his personal freedom intact.This makes a good companion movie to the Costa Gavras film, MISSING. Each has a slightly different perspective on the coup, the oppression, and the United States' involvement in destroying Chilean democracy. Both tell intense stories. Neither should be missed.The DVD included no special features other than English subtitles and the ability to jump to any given "chapter" in the movie. Five stars for impact. Three for story telling. Averages out to four stars.(If you'd like to dialogue about this movie or review, click on the "about me" link above and
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WoW! What a film!
Tim | Boxford, MA United States | 05/09/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After viewing this video I was amazed! I never knew history could be portrayed So well in a movie. I thought the actors were incredible! The scenery of Chile was beautiful! I would recommend this film to anyone. The plot was good but at times hard to follow because of the sub-titles. I would recommend this film to anyone who is interested in history or just a good movie!"
Coup in Chile
D. Mayes | Cape Town, South Africa | 11/05/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This film is a straight forward quasi-documentary of the events of Sept. 11, 1973 when the democratic government of Chile was overthrown by A. Pinochet aided to some extent by the CIA. I found the film of interest, but it lacks the drama and emotion of the 'Battle of Algiers.' Allende is killed by the Chilean army in the film, which may or may not be historically accurate. The film is in the French language, so it's not suitable for most Spanish language classrooms."
Interesting - parallels to Venezuela, Haiti, ... are current
Dwight N. Rousu | Redmond, WA USA | 04/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Interesting portrayal of the military coup by the military supported by the CIA. Sentimentally aligned with the ordinary people, unionized workers, university students, and economic populists of Allende's Chile. It may invoke an interest to research how this history has evolved since the events of the movie. Pinochet's fall from grace via CIA collaborated murders in Washington?To the extent it is truly a documentary, it tended not to emphasize the degree to which Pinochet and his allied officers were schooled in the School of the Americas. Strangely missing much on the involvement or non-involvement of the Church in the takeover by a wealthy military secretive subset of society in a largely catholic country.Re-opens chapters I had forgotten, and aspects I never knew. The relevance to recent events in Venezuela and Haiti cannot be far from your mind as you watch."