Machuca: A review of the 2004 Chilean film

A common misunderstanding among Americans leftists/liberals is that Chile’s former dictator Pinochet was simply a product of the CIA. While the US government and Kissinger certainly had their bloody hands on the 1973 Chilean coup, the 2004 Chilean movie Machuca harshly dramatizes the class conflict that was happening within Chilean society that led up to Chile’s 9-11, the 1973 coup.

In brief the movie is about some poor Chilean kids, including one named Machuca, that get enrolled into a private school of primarily middle and upper class students. The background is the social conflict that is breaking out in 1973 Chile and how this entwines with two children from starkly different backgrounds who become friends. A progressive priest tries to mediate some of this the conflict at the school, but throughout Chile things escalate until the brutal coup.

The movie demonstates that a big portion of Chile’s middle and upper classes supported Pinochet. Pinochet wasn’t simply a US puppet but had a large social base within Chile. Pinochet was the man who once said, “Human rights is a marxist invention”. For his supporters in the “better” classes Pinochet was the man who saved Chile from communism, and where the ends justified the means– 3,000 murdered and 30,000 tortured.



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