[OPE-L] "Batalla de Chile" [was Remembering September 11th]

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Wed Dec 13 2006 - 20:54:48 EST


The movie you are thinking of is "Batalla de Chile" ["The Battle of
Chile"], a 1977 3-part film by Patricio Guzmán. There is also a 1997
film which is considered the 4th part. An online description of this
very lengthy but enthralling documentary follows.  Note that Marta
Harnecker (who is affiliated with an OPE-L member) served as a special
advisor in the making of the film.  While often sober and grim, it is a
film to be seen and a subject to be remembered and learned from.

In solidarity, Jerry

Part 1: The Bourgeois Insurrection, 1975.

The first film in a two-part documentary on the fate of Allende's Popular
Unity government filmed throughout Chile from February toSeptember 1973.
Part one examines the escalation of rightist opposition following the
left's victory in Congressional elections held in March, 1973.

Part 2: The Coup, 1976.

The second film in a two-part documentary on the fate of Allende's Popular
Unity government filmed throughout Chile from February to September 1973.
Part two opens with the attempted military coup of June 1973, which is put
down by troops loyal to the government but everyone now realizes the final
showdown is only a matter of time. The film shows a left divided over
strategy, while the right methodically lays the groundwork for the
military seizure of power.

Part 3: The Struggle of an Unarmed People (La Fuerza del pueblo)", 1978.

Completed two years after the first two parts of "The Battle of Chile" in
1978, this film deals with the creation of thousands of local groups of
"popular power" by ordinary workers and peasants.

"Obstinate Memory" 1997.

Patricio Guzman, returns to Chile 23 years later to show his film The
Battle of Chile (which has never been shown in Chile) to his old friends
and to a student group to enlighten them concerning the historical facts
surrounding the military coup.

Background description:

September 11, 1973: Chile's democratically elected socialist government,
led by President Salvador Allende, is overthrown in a violent coup d'etat
by a right-wing military junta. On hand: Chilean filmmaker Patricio
Guzman, who, with a collective of five additional filmmakers, captured the
tumultuous final months of the Allende government. The result was a
monumental three-part documentary titled THE BATTLE OF CHILE, first shown
in the U.S. in 1976. It's a shattering piece of history that's essential
viewing for anyone even remotely interested in the history of the world
around them. The unabashedly ideological voice-over narration may be
intrusive (all the talk of "the struggle" and "the revolutionary process"
sounds like a parody of Marxist agitprop), but it's detailed and
informative, and the power of Guzman's images is undeniable: An unarmed
cameraman films his own death when a pro-coup soldier takes aim and guns
him down; a cabal of military officers of dubious allegiance prowl the
funeral of Allende's murdered aide-de-camp like a pack of hungry wolves;
and the climactic bombing of Allende's La Moneda Palace is a shocking
spectacle. In 1996, Guzman returned to Chile, where THE BATTLE OF CHILE
has never been shown. Guzman planned to screen the film and interview
survivors of that fateful summer and the ensuing years of terror, but
encountered something even more compelling: a nation brutalized into
amnesia, struggling to remember its recent past. This film, CHILE,
OBSTINATE MEMORY is a profoundly moving experience. No longer "merely" a
political documentary, Guzman's film is reconfigured and transformed into
a painful but ultimately optimistic examination of collective memory,
nationhood and history.--  Ken Fox

The Battle of Chile surely must be the most interesting from the Chilean
troubles from the 70's, handled with style & fervour by the passionate
director, who by all accounts is a left-wing sympathiser. The film starts
with a roar with the failed coup d'etat, & from there builds up the tragic
story of the Allende lead "Marxist" party, telling us who plotted against
them & why, all set behind the backdrop of mass public support, eventually
quashed by right-wing terror. The film has to be admired also for publicly
stating that the CIA helped the bourguoise eventually kill close to 30,000
people, and the fact that this film was a huge risk to the lives of the
makers (who had to smuggle it out of Chile and edit it as exiles). Overall
it deals with the worker's plight not only in Chile, but as a case study
around the world (Brazil & Bolivia for example), and only watching these
types of films (this is part 2 of a trilogy) do you sense the realities of
this world, and shake off the ideals set by society. Well worth a
watch--Jamie O'Halleron

The list of those who collaborated on the film is impressive. The Equipo
Tercer Ańo consists of six filmmakers who worked together throughout the
UP period under the direction of Patricio Guzman. Pedro Chaskel, head of
UCAL (Latin American Union of Film Societies), is credited with the
editing, and Jorge Muller, abducted and held as an "unacknowledged
prisoner" by the secret police since November 29, 1974,( 2 ) was director
of photography on this as well as many other award-winning Chilean films.
Militant French filmmaker Chris Marker helped get the footage out of Chile
and collaborated in its final shaping. Marta Harnecker, former editor of
the magazine Chile Hoy and co-author of the famous Cuadernos de Educacion
Popular (popular pamphlets offering a Marxist social analysis), and Cuban
filmmaker and film theorist Julio Garcia Espinosa served as special

See also:

--Interview with Guzmán:

Patricio Guzman: Narrator

Producer: Chris Marker

Director: Patricio Guzman

Editor: Pedro Chaskel

Sound: Bernardo Menz

Cinematographer: Jorge Muller

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