“If they find me here, they will torture me:” In September of 1973, the armed forces of Chile, led by U.S.-backed General Augusto Pinochet, staged a coup d’etat that overthrew Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist president. Pinochet’s dictatorship would be brutal, as thousands of dissidents were either kidnapped or killed in the years to come. This dark era in Latin American politics is the backdrop of “Chile ’76,” the debut feature film from young Chilean filmmaker Manuela Martelli. In the early days of the Pinochet dictatorship, Carmen (played by Aline Kuppenheim) leads a sheltered existence—as a member of the upper-middle-class, the political realities of Chile are, in a sense, beneath her.
Carmen heads to her summer home to supervise renovations when the family priest asks that she care for an injured young man he has been sheltering. With this encounter, Carmen is swept up by the winds of history, having no choice but to be drawn into the world of the Chilean opposition, with potentially devastating consequences for her and her family awaiting them.
Martelli’s debut, reflecting upon a tragic past many people in Chile of a certain age still remember, comes at an interesting time both politically and culturally. She is part of a wave of woman filmmakers that have emerged from Chile in recent years, joining the likes of Dominga Sotomayor (“Too Late to Die Young,” also credited as a producer of “Chile ’76”), Maite Alberdi (“The Mole Agent”), and Francisca Alegría (“The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future”). In recent years, Latin America has also seen a string of leftists elected to office, including Gustavo Petro in Colombia, the return of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, and Chile’s own Gabriel Boric.
“Chile ’76” opens May 5 in New York City and May 19 in Los Angeles, with a nationwide rollout shortly after that courtesy of Kino Lorber. Watch the new trailer below.
Source: The Playlist