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

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Wed Dec 13 2006 - 22:06:15 EST

If I remember correctly, Marta worked up the 
chronology for the film; she had a lot of 
information from editing Chile Hoy, the left weekly journal of the period.

At 21:54 13/12/2006, you wrote:
>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

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

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