Movie Review: You must see “The Battle of Chile”

‘Chile,the Obstinate Memory,” director Patricio Guzman’s film of his return to Chile to screen his trilogy for Chileans who were unacquainted with their own history, can be seen in its entirety by clicking the above link.

The first film in Patricio Guzman’s trilogy, “The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie” (1975), begins innocuously enough, with the film-makers asking people in the street who they think will win the upcoming election.  It concludes, after the right-wing opposition fails to win a victory over president Salvadore Allende,  with a journalist filming his own murder, as he chronicles a military assault on the people.

It is all real footage, filmed as it happened,  during  one of modern history’s most shameful episodes, one that will never lose its relevance to those who believe democracy   must accept the will of the people, de/spite their ideological leanings.

Part Two, “The Coup d’ etat”  (1976), reveals the strategy behind the military overthrow of Allende’s , government, from the forced strikes in the copper mines and the trucking industry, to the CIA assisted bombing of the presidential palace, that left Allende dead and the leadership of the country in the hands of the military and mass-murderer Augusto Pinochet.

These films should be seen by Venuzuelian president Nicolas Maduro every time he goes into one of his paranoid fits about conspiracies of the opposition, if only to show him what a real conspiracy against the government looks like.  It should also be seen by every citizen of the United States who has blinded himself to the culpability of his own country in the violent overthrow of a democratically elected government whose goals conflicted with the its own economic interests.

The final film, “People’s  Power” (1979), backtracks to the citizen programs for reform that were activated during the Allende administration. Guzman’s structure here catches the audience off guard, as it expects to see the country wrecked by Pinochet’s crimes against humanity, and instead is returned to the era of optimism, suggesting that change is still possible, despite the opposition.

“The Battle of Chile” offers  photographic evidence of the lengths to which fascists will go to secure their ends.  It is both the saddest and most inspiring of documentaries.  Sad, because of the horrible, horrible events it depicts.  Inspiring because it stands as the proof that these things did happen, and cannot be hidden from the eyes of man or God.


10 thoughts on “Movie Review: You must see “The Battle of Chile”

  1. Sorry to say, Bill, just textbooks, documentaries and films. I created a unit at school regarding military dictatorships and the pattern was evident whether you were in Argentina, Columbia, or Africa. I really like ‘Last King in Scotland’ for showing the pattern. Charm and promises turn into paranoia, genocide, and another Coup d’etat. Always, always the citizenry suffers the most. Africa and most of S. America is historically one big CF. You already know this.


      1. loved innocent voices….didn’t care for last king of scotland, mainly because it was told from the point of view of the white kid.found Barbet Schroeder’s documentary, general idi amin, more factual. i dont see much in common,though, with idi amin and south american juntas. the real problem in south america is that the governments actually change with each new president. the saving grace of the United States government is that the infrastructure is so strong, it doesnt matter how bad the president is, the country does not fall apart. i am worried about who our next present may be here in peru. the new mayor is a pig who has already, in five months, undone most of the improvements the former mayor made. in africa, walk two miles and find another petty dictator hanging the game. if you have the money and a few assasins at your beck and call, it is possible to set up a small empire and branch out from there.


  2. im not a member of the ex-pat community, most of whom have high paying jobs in US corporations with offices here..they live in rich communities and get robbed a lot.i moved here because my fiance was denied a fiance visa because i had less than $75,000 in the the bank. so the only way we could marry was if i moved here. ive been here 2 1/2 years now, and am very happy here, living more comfortably than in the US.


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