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May 03 2018


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Drew Daffron:

I decided to watch Machuca, a Chilean film released in 2004 from director Andres Wood. The movie was set in 1973 in the city of Santiago during Salvador Allende’s socialist government reign all the way until General Augusto Pinochet’s military coup, which I’ll explore later. The film follows the story of 11 year old protagonist, Gonzalo Infante, and his eventual friend Pedro Machuca. Gonzalo was an upper middle-class Chilean boy during a rough time period in Chile where the lower classes demanded more rights and fundamental change. While confusing for an outsider and particularly for me not knowing too much about Chilean political history, the story is relatively easy to follow due to the fact that it’s told in the eyes of a child who doesn’t necessarily understand all that is going on around him.

Gonzalo attends a prestigious private school where the principal has recently developed a social integration project that admits five underprivileged students to attend the school. One of those kids, Pedro Machuca, stands up for Gonzalo as he’s being bullied which results in the two boys becoming friends. After school that day Gonzalo follows Pedro and his neighbor Silvana as they go with their uncle to sell various propaganda at different demonstrations. They first visit a right-wing nationalist demonstration and right after they attend a leftist rally that is in support of the socialist government. Silvana teases Gonzalo at first but they eventually befriend one another and later kiss for the first time. It is around this point in the movie that the viewer realizes the major differences in the lives of Machuca and Infante seeing as one lives in an extremely small, humble home where children have to share rooms and the other has his own room to where he can keep his toys and a walk in closet for his clothes. Gonzalo is dismayed, almost in shock at the conditions of Pedros home whereas Pedro is astounded at the way Gonzalo is living, but at the same time notes the tension and difference of Gonzalo’s family life.