Friday, May 5, 2023

Chile 76 (2023) Opens today


In the early days of the Pinochet regime a well to do older woman is asked by the local priest to help him with a criminal he is hiding. He tells her that he is nobody important, however she soon learns that he is a wanted member of the opposition.

This is a very good film that ponders how people who aren't paying attention to what is happening in their country can be shocked awake when reality comes to call.  Director  Manuela Martelli's first feature is a film that dazzles the soul. It is a film that is not only a killer political drama but also a beautifully made film.

I suspect all the other reviews will talk about the politics and the drama so I'm going to talk about the filmmaking. Martelli's shifts the look of the film as we go from real to a more fractured and surreal look as the film goes on. The camera becomes unsteady as our heroine's world fragments. Late in the film when some bad things happen she has a conversation  framed in mirrors so that in the center we have the people talking and in side mirrors there are singular versions of each person as if they are outside themselves.

Colors reinforce everything that is going on. Drops of paint appear like blood droplets on a shoe. The mixing of red icing makes the skin crawl as it becomes a sea of blood. All through the film color quietly and not so quietly underlines the emotion.

This film is a that gets under your skin and makes you feel uneasy. It is a dire warning to what may happen in country if fascists are allowed to seize control.

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