EL CONDE – Review by Diane Carson

Now, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Pinochet’s coup d’état against Allende, Larraín’s El Conde again targets Pinochet. However, Larraín has departed from realistic storytelling, creating a grisly, at times even repulsive, presentation of Pinochet as a jaded vampire in his late eighties. He and his enablers retrieve fresh hearts from victims, put them in blenders, and feast on ugly smoothies. Legendary cinematographer Ed Lachman captures all this in rich, deep black-and-white, the only buffer against our aversion to these loathsome individuals

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EL CONDE – Review by Nadine Whitney

Chilean director Pablo Larraín adds a particularly dark and absurd entry to his films influenced by the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. While No is his lightest effort and Post Mortem his bleakest, El Conde is his most absurd. Using the premise that Pinochet is a two hundred-and fifty-year old vampire born in France in 1766 and obsessed with Marie Antoinette, August Pinochet gradually became the dictator of a “country without a king” after fighting in any war that put down the proletariat.

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THE ETERNAL MEMORY – Review by Lois Alter Mark

In this achingly beautiful documentary, filmmaker Maite Alberdi parallels Chilean journalist Augusto Góngora’s professional success in keeping his country’s memories alive with his personal struggle to keep his own memories alive in a battle against Alzheimer’s that he cannot win. His disease is ravaging his mind much the way the Pinochet regime ravaged Chile. Thanks to Alberdi’s masterful direction, though, the film has a surprisingly light and hopeful feel.

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THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

If the literary works of Jorge Luis Borges, Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez aren’t enough to remind you how firmly the origins of magic realism lie in Latin America, then the cinema of Alfonso Arau, Guillermo del Toro and – now – Francisca Alegria collectively act to make sure you don’t forget. With The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future, Alegria marks her confident feature debut, crafting a tale as strange as it is memorable. Tonally the film is somber, almost at times even reverent, as it paints a complex family web and a world gone mad, where nature necessarily must suffer at the hands of progress.

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THE ETERNAL MEMORY (HotDocs2023) – Review by Liz Braun

The Eternal Memory is a love story about journalist Augusto Gongoro and actress (and arts and culture minister) Paulina Urrutia, a Chilean couple living with his Alzheimer’s. Filmmaker Alberdi wanted to capture this couple because of the way Pauli integrated Augusto’s care into everyday life — an effort that allowed Augusto to thrive despite Alzheimer’s.

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Maite Alberdi on THE ETERNAL MEMORY (HotDocs2023) – Liz Braun interviews

The Eternal Memory is a love story that covers 25 years in the relationship between Chilean journalist Augusto Gongora and his wife, actress Paulina Urrutia. Augusto and Pauli have lived with his Alzheimer’s for the last decade. The heartrending movie reflects the intimate observational style of award-winning filmmaker Maite Alberdi, whose close focus on individual stories is often a door to larger national issues. We spoke to Alberdi when she was in Toronto with The Eternal Memory at the Hot Docs Film Festival.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 5, 2023: CHILE ’76

A well-to-do Chilean woman’s comfortable life is turned upside down when her eyes are opened to the terrors of the Pinochet regime in Manuela Martelli’s tense, atmospheric Chile ’76. As Carmen (Aline Küppenheim, in a compelling performance) gets drawn into the fringes of the resistance through caring for an injured activist, she starts to realize just how precarious her protected existence really is — and begins to look at her world with new eyes.

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CHILE 76 – Review by Loren King

Actor turned director Manuela Martelli’s accomplished debut feature is a restrained slow burn of a political thriller. The film is anchored by a perfectly modulated performance by Aline Küppenheim as middle class housewife Carmen whose life has so far been shielded from the brutality of the Pinochet dictatorship in 1970s Chile. Carmen is more concerned with choosing the right color paint for her beach house than with the screams of an unseen woman in the street.

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CHILE ’76 – Review by Jennifer Merin

Chile ’76 is a powerful political thriller. This first feature by actor-turned-director Manuela Martelli, who also co-wrote the script with Alejandra Moffat, is set in the atmosphere of dread that swept over Chile during the 1970s as the repressive measures of the Pinochet dictatorship became harsher and harsher day by day. The compelling story centers on the political awakening of Carmen, an upper class a-political Chilean woman, the wife of a well-known physician, whose daily live revolves around family gatherings, shopping and lunching with friends — until she unintentionally becomes politicized.

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CHILE ’76 – Review by Cate Marquis

Set in Chile during the brutal, oppressive Pinochet dictatorship, Chile ’76 is a film that sneaks up on you, starting like a quiet drama about a wealthy woman who is satisfied with her settled life, but gradually morphing into a white-knuckle thriller about life under Pinochet. Aline Kuppenheim’s sensitive yet striking performance drives this thriller, as we are drawn into her world and her changing feelings. An impressive debut by a actor-turned-director Manuela Martelli, Chile ’76 is a chilling, powerful political thriller as a woman’s view of the world around her is shaken to its foundations in the film’s devastating conclusion.

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