The ocean contains the history of all humanity. The sea holds all the voices of the earth and those that come from outer space. Water receives impetus from the stars and transmits it to living creatures. Water, the longest border in Chile, also holds the secret of two mysterious buttons which were found on its ocean floor. Chile, with its 2,670 miles of coastline and the largest archipelago in the world, presents a supernatural landscape. In it are volcanoes, mountains and glaciers. In it are the voices of the Patagonian Indigenous people, the first English sailors and also those of its political prisoners. Some say that water has memory. This film shows that it also has a voice. Continue reading
(Chicago reader capsule ) :
“Released in three parts, Patricio Guzman’s epic documentary The Battle of Chile (1975-’79) captured such critical events as the bombing of the presidential palace during the 1973 military coup, but it wasn’t screened in Chile until the 1990s. That belated premiere inspired Guzman to make this 1997 documentary, in which clips from the earlier film are threaded among interviews and powerful sequences showing the reactions of Chilean viewers. Whereas The Battle of Chile uses voice-over narration to summarize its on-the-spot footage, manipulated only minimally by editing, Chile, Obstinate Memory is more expansive. Without ignoring or hyperbolizing the way politics affects our sense of the past, it presents many galvanizing moments; at one point a viewer who was a child during the coup shamefacedly recalls his pleasure at being allowed to stay home from school” Continue reading
Synopsis of Part 3:
THE BATTLE OF CHILE (3): The Power of the People (1978) deals with the creation by ordinary workers and peasants of thousands of local groups of “popular power” to distribute food, occupy, guard and run factories and farms, oppose black market profiteering, and link together neighborhood social service organizations. First these local groups of “popular power” acted as a defense against strikes and lock-outs by factory owners, tradesmen and professional bodies opposed to the Allende government, then increasingly as Soviet-type bodies demanding more resolute action by the government against the right. Continue reading
Synopsis of Part 2:
THE BATTLE OF CHILE (2): The Coup d’Etat (1976) opens with the attempted military coup of June, 1973 which is put down by troops loyal to the government. It serves as a useful dry run, however, for the final showdown, that everyone now realizes is coming. The film shows a left divided over strategy, while the right methodically lays the groundwork for the military seizure of power. The film’s dramatic concluding sequence documents the coup d’etat, including Allende’s last radio messages to the people of Chile, footage of the military assault on the presidential palace, and that evening’s televised presentation of the new military junta. Continue reading
Synopsis of Part 1:
THE BATTLE OF CHILE: The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie (1975) examines the escalation of rightist opposition following the left’s unexpected victory in Congressional elections held in March, 1973. Finding that democracy would not stop Allende’s socialist policies, the right-wing shifted its tactics from the polls to the streets. The film follows months of activity as a variety of increasingly violent tactics are used by the right to weaken the government and provoke a crisis. Continue reading
In Chile, at three thousand metres altitude, astronomers from all over the world gather together in the Atacama desert to observe the stars. The desert sky is so translucent that it allows them to see right to the boundaries of the universe.
It is also a place where the harsh heat of the sun keeps human remains intact : those of the mummies, explorers and miners. But also the remains of the dictatorship’s political prisoners.
Whilst the astronomers examine the most distant galaxies in search of probable extraterrestrial life, at the foot of the observatories a group of women are digging through the desert soil in search of their disappeared relatives… Continue reading