Monday, April 18, 2011

Machuca and the “Chile of the Mind”

Pinochet-Peron 1974

Image via Wikipedia

I learned a great piece of travel advice from my dad.

Whenever you visit a country (or any place really), the more you invest in immersing yourself in the culture and history of the place, the better off you will be in understanding what you see when you get there.

Now, my recent travels have made it a bit difficult for me to completely immerse myself, but on the flight to Argentina, I was faced with a choice.

Actually, a lot of choices…in terms of which movie or tv shows to watch.

There were plenty that were interesting, but I chose Machuca.


It was the story of 2 schoolboy friends from different socio-economic classes and what happened to them in the period of transition between the Socialist Allende government and the junta of General Pinochet.

I knew a *bit* about Pinochet, but not much and I’m far from an expert now, but spending 2 hours to get a feel for some of the scars that the country might have as a result of this time period would, I felt, help me better prepare for my presentation in Santiago later that week.

Apparently, the movie did well in Chile…not so well elsewhere, but I enjoyed it and if you are looking to understand some of the (still) existant class challenges that are part of life in Latin America, this is a good one to check out.

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