Saturday, April 12, 2008


9/11 today for the world means one thing, but in 1973 Chile had the first 9/11 in recent history and not many people outside Chile know about it. This extremely good film by Andrés Wood tells you about that date and does it in an extremely smart and intelligent way as is told from the point-of-view of two young school age children, one from a wealthy family and another from a slum.

The movie is a loosely based autobiographical recount of Woods childhood –he co wrote the screenplay-, so perhaps because he lived what he’s telling, his film becomes a strong emotional ride of events that lead to that date and what happened after. Have to say that it is an amazing and very successful way to tell a story.

The outline of the story tells about an upper class English School for Boys where the headmaster priest decides to allow some non-paying students from the nearby slums. The affluent Gonzalo Infante has the opportunity to meet Pedro Machuca and they become friends. But this friendship gives Infante a life changing experience of going to Machuca’s house in the slum, go to protest marches from right and left wings and fall for Machuca’s cousin Silvana. While Gonzalo lives all these experiences you will be exposed to events and situations before the coup, you will witness the day and some of the consequences afterwards.

But a story like the one this movie tells could not be successfully told if this Spain, UK, France and Chile production was not as excellent as it is. This is an extremely well done movie with excellent performances by the three main actors, great narrative and the most excellent cinematography that follows the incidents and changes according to what is happening, all adding to allow you to feel what Gonzalo, Machuca and Silvana are feeling while living all that happens.

Some viewers and critics say that you have to familiar with the history of Chile to truly get the movie. Have to say that I know about what happened that 9/11 and afterwards from stories told by Chileans who lived there when everything happened, so perhaps that’s why the story touch me and the movie impacted me a lot. Still if you feel like watching the movie perhaps it will be wise to read a little about that 9/11 and what happened after.

The movie has 8 awards and 3 nominations in fests and awards around the western part of the world, including winning the Georges Delerue Prize and being nominated for the Grand Prix at the 2004 Flanders International Film Festival, as well as being nominated for Best Spanish Language Foreign Film at the 2005 Goya Awayds. Was also the closing movie of the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs at the 2004 Cannes.

This is an unforgettable movie that definitively could give lots of food for thought to many and consequently I strongly recommend to all that enjoy good cinema with substance and to those that want to learn about that first 9/11.

I truly thank the reader of this blog that suggested me to watch this movie, as was more than what I expected and could ever imagine I was going to be able to see. Thank You.


P.S. While watching the movie with the right-left protests and the “cacerolazos” scenes I couldn’t help to think how history repeats itself, as those scenes looked so similar to what has been happening in Venezuela…hmm.

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