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The Battle of Chile is a documentary film directed by the Chilean Patricio Guzman, in 3 parts: The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie (1975), The Coup d'état (1976), Popular Power (1979). It is a chronicle of the political tension in Chile in 1973 and of the violent counter revolution against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. It won the Grand Prix in 1975 and 1976 at the Grenoble International Film Festival. In 1996, Chile, Obstinate Memory was released and followed Guzmán back to Chile as he screened the 3-part documentary to Chileans who had never seen it before.
|S01E01||The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie||00/00/0000||The film opens in March 1973 with reporters asking people how they intend to vote in the coming congressional election. The election is taking place after Allende has been in office for over two years and has been trying to reorganize society along democratic socialist lines. His "Popular Unity" coalition was put into office with only a third of the popular vote. His efforts to nationalize certain industries have met with internal and foreign opposition, and Chile is suffering economic deprivations. (Narration is provided in English - a source of criticism in The New Yorker review of the film by Pauline Kael - " The film seems to give us only the public actions - and none of the inner workings. Those are supplied by an English narrator ( a woman) who keeps interpreting for us. There may be considerable truth here, but this kind of thing can drive one a little crazy. She gives us a strict ideological account - in which everything that happens is the result of the imperialists and the industrialists strategy."  In the election Allende makes gains to 43.4 percent of the votes, though the opposition bloc is strong too, up to 56 percent. The film has street interviews, speeches, the violent confrontations, the mobs and meetings, the parades with workers chanting. Part One finishes with newsreel footage from an Argentine cameraman Leonardo Henrichsen  who was photographing street skirmishes. A soldier takes aim and kills the cameraman, and the image spins skyward.|
|S01E02||The Coup D'etat||28/08/1976||"The Coup d'état" begins with the right wing violence of the winter of 1973 (June is winter in the southern hemisphere) against the government. Army troops seize control of downtown Santiago - but the attempted coup is snuffed out in a few hours. "The film leaps from one group to another ... It shows the different elements in the explosive situation with so much clarity that it's a Marxist tract in which the contradictions of capitalism have sprung to life. We actually see the country cracking open. Step by step, the legal government is overthrown." |
|S01E03||The Power of the People||28/08/1979||Everybody in Chile seems to know the coup d'état is coming and talk about it openly - yet the people who have most to lose can't get together enough to do anything. Allende's naval aide-de-camp Arturo Araya is killed, and the camera moves around the funeral attendees - General Pinochet among them. In July, the truck owners, funded by the C.I.A., begin their long strike, which paralyzes the distribution of food, gasoline, and fuel, and there is a call for Allende to resign. Instead Allende holds a rally - around 800,000 people arrive, but they have no weapons. On September 11, the Navy institutes the coup d'état, and the Air Force bombs the state radio station. The palace is bombarded from the air. And then the chiefs of the junta on television are seen announcing they'll return the country to order after three years of "Marxist cancer".|
|S01E04||Chile, Obstinate Memory||28/08/1966||In Chile, Obstinate Memory, Guzmán explores the idea of identity and memory as it relates to the Chilean public. As opposed to The Battle of Chile, Chile, Obstinate Memory focuses more on the personal reflections of the filmmaker on returning to his home country. Whereas the original documentary is in the form of cinema verité, Chile, Obstinate Memory is a personal essay film Guzmán interviews people involved in the making of The Battle of Chile, speaks with Allende’s former guards, reflects on his own time being held by the military government, and overall focuses on the individual experiences under such a regime. The film explores the identity of the Chilean people in regards to the political changes of the nation during and after the Pinochet regime. Guzmán struggled with the decision to make a personal essay film. In an interview with Jorge Ruffinelli, the filmmaker states that he had planned to go back to Chile and producer Yves Jeanneau suggested that Guzmán make his trip the subject of a new film. According to Guzmán, “This frightened me too much, however, to appear as the central focus of a film. So I made the suggestion that it would be better to take advantage of my trip looking for the original characters of The Battle of Chile. That jelled and so the project began. I wrote the first synopsis, with a real lack of confidence because the "personal tone" wasn't convincing me.”  Eventually the filmmaker found the way to tell this compelling story. Previous to the beginning of the shoot, the director was screening his documentary at a film school in Santiago. As the screening ended, Guzmán saw no reaction to his film, “no one turned on the light, and no one applauded. I thought that I had picked the wrong film and said to myself, ´these kids must be children of parents who detest the Allende period´, and started moving to the back of the room to turn on the light, as I tried to think of some formula to continue the class. How great|