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Impressive, Powerful, Accurate
lm_amethyst7413 December 2004
I watched the film with my mother, who lived through the coup d'etat in Chile. The events depicted in the movie were so realistic, they transported her back to that era. She cried as we watched and explained all of the small details I wouldn't have gotten being someone who didn't experience these events for myself. With this in mind, I have to think this movie was meant to be watched by a Chilean audience to be fully understood and "felt". Someone like my mother, who has seen the atrocities that occurred in Chile in the mid-seventies, would be a more appropriate critic of this film.

Regardless, I think everyone should watch this movie. It is a touching story about friendship, growing up, social classes, and politics. The acting was exceptional. The plot was well- written. The sets, props, and costumes were accurate. It has a lot to offer as an enlightening and educational film since the story of Chile's own 9/11 has not yet reached the general masses. Because the story is told through a sentimental child's perspective, you are drawn yet closer to the characters and their emotions. Some have criticized this film harshly, stating that Wood couldn't make up his mind whether this film is a political story or a child's coming-of-age tale. Why can't it be both?

As a Chilean, I am extremely proud of this film, in its quality and accuracy. It is powerful, bold and touched me to my very core. I strongly recommend it to all, especially all of you Chilean-Americans born during this era. Ask your parents to tell you their own story, and you will see that Machuca is more than a piece of cinematic brilliance and a milestone in Chilean film. It is a film you will never forget.
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Succeeds on both a human and political level
howard.schumann20 December 2004
In 1973, the Chilean military, under the direction of General Augusto Pinochet and backed by the CIA, overthrew the shaky socialist government of democratically elected President Salvador Allende. The coup led to the murder of 3,000 leftist Allende supporters and the detention of an estimated 250,000 political prisoners. Set against the background of the political instability that led to the crisis, Andrés Woods' Machuca is the moving story of the friendship between two boys from different sides of the social spectrum. Voted the most popular film at the 2004 Vancouver Film Festival and a major box-office hit in Chile, the semi-autobiographical film succeeds on both a human and a political level, the different elements coming together in a final conflagration.

Gonzalo Infante (Matias Quer) is a chubby, red-faced 11-year old who attends St. Patrick's private school. He lives in a wealthy neighborhood where his security is unquestioned, even though he knows that his mother Maria (Aline Kuppenheim) is having a long-standing affair with a well-to-do Argentine businessman. Gonzalo is shy and inexpressive and is often bullied at school. His life changes, however, when Father McEnroe (Ernesto Malbran), the priest who runs the school, opens St. Patrick's to those who are unable to pay, and Gonzalo develops a friendship with Pedro Machuca (Ariel Mataluna), a youngster who lives in a nearby shantytown. The inclusion of the marginal students causes unrest at the school. Fights break out between the two economic classes and parents hastily call meetings to voice their opposition to the "communist" priest. Gonzalo protects Pedro from the bullies and later visits Pedro in his home.

Aware of how much he has, Gonzalo accepts his status without feeling superior, though Pedro's family refers to him as "the snob". In a subplot, Pedro's seductive young cousin Silvana (Manuela Martelli) gives both boys an introduction to sexual pleasure. Though the relationship between the two boys develops naturally and their innocence allows them to see past the developing turmoil, the disturbing layers of adult events slowly begin to threaten their friendship. To pick up some extra money, the boys attend political rallies and sell Chilean flags to both the Nationalists and the Communists, but soon emotions escalate and street fights break out between far-left and far-right militants. The onset of revolt is signaled by the arrival of two jets flying towards the Presidential Palace, a seminal event in Chile's history that marked the end of their democracy.

One of Chile's most successful young filmmakers, Woods lets the facts speak for themselves, and Machuca makes its points with an emotional power unencumbered by bias or simplistic messages. While the upper middle class is shown as elitist and disdainful of the working class, Pedro's family is also not portrayed in glowing terms. In a drunken rage of victimization, the father tells his son that in a few years, "He (Gonzalo) will be working for Daddy....You'll be cleaning toilets." The children are portrayed as simply children without the false glow of larger-than-life heroism. Although Machuca may ultimately have more of an impact for Chileans who experienced the coup directly, its theme of young people caught in the swirl of events beyond their understanding resonates far beyond the details of this single tragic moment in history.
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point of view of a 26 year old Chilean American
kevinthelen10 August 2004
Although i was not old enough to live through these events, its repercussions are still felt today. Its interesting to see this movie in the theater and hear older people in the audience booing and cheering at the different scenes and historical characters in the movie, meaning that it accurately depicts the events. The movie is excellent in the way it portrays the everyday life experienced back in those days. The movie is apolitical in the way the main characters are children, so the focus is everyday life more than taking an actual view. The great special effects used, increase the realism and makes the movie so much better, and you don't even notice they are being used.

I recommend this movie 100% both to Chileans, and foreigners that want a glimpse on the life of the upper/middle classes in Chile back in 1973.
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Touching and Realistic Tale of Friendship and Coming to Age in Times of Military Coup
claudio_carvalho5 February 2006
In 1973, in Santiago of Chile of the first socialist president democratically elected in a Latin-American country, President Salvador Allende, the principal of the Saint Patrick School, Father McEnroe (Ernesto Malbran) makes a trial of integration between students of the upper and lower classes. The bourgeois boy Gonzalo Infante (Matías Quer) and the boy from the slum Pedro Machuca (Ariel Mateluna) become great friends, while the conflicts on the streets leads Chile to the bloody and repressive military coup of General Augusto Pinochet on 11 September 1973, changing definitely their lives, their relationship and their country.

"Machuca" is a touching and realistic tale of friendship and coming to age in times of military coup in Chile. The Chilean director Andrés Wood made this fantastic movie following the political genre of Costa Gravas, but with a subtle drama with two children getting conscience of the fight of classes and the changes in their country by force and violence. The story in some moments seems to be a documentary so perfect the direction and acting are. The debut of the two lead actors, Matías Quer and Ariel Mateluna, is awesome: the eyes of the silent Matías Quer disclosing reality and the facial expression of Ariel Mateluna are amazing. "Machuca" is a highly recommended movie, and for the younger generations slightly see what happened in the 70's in South America and particularly in Chile. A few figures about Pinochet's dictatorship: 30,000 Chileans were killed; 100,000 Chileans were arrested without a trial; 22,000 students were expelled from the universities; 150,000 Chileans were exiled. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "Machuca"
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Wonderful and transcendent
lazarillo13 August 2004
This is an absolutely wonderful film that captures a very interesting period of history told as a coming-of-age tale from the perspective of three pubescent school children. Like "Diaros de Motocicleta", the recent film about a young Ernesto Guevara, this is NOT simply a political diatribe. It does not romanticize the Allende government or the difficulties (riots, shortages, etc.)that the country went through during his turbulent reign. It certainly doesn't paint the Pinochet coup in a very favorable light, but I don't see how you can make the overthrow of a democratically-elected government and the murder, torture, and disappearance of some 3,000 people look like a wonderful thing. The film portrays many Pinochet supporters either as rich and corrupt or as small-minded, reactionary bullies (which is not entirely inaccurate), but it certainly doesn't shy away from the dark side of the Allende revolution( Allende supporters are shown accosting middle-class Chileans in the street, Allende himself appears in actual TV footage of his notorious meeting with Soviet leader Leonid Breshnev). Really though it would be a shame if continuing political differences stop people from seeing this superb film which really transcends politics to capture the spirit of youth and a time that, as terrible as it was, will never be forgotten.
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A Truly Outstanding Piece of Film-making
aharmas15 May 2005
This film reaches back and looks at history in a very intimate and personal way. Its young protagonist is shown, growing up, not quite understanding what is happening around him. His own life is the middle of a crisis, and suddenly he is in the middle of his own country's political storm. Gonzalo is one of the lucky ones, a young man who escaped the horrors while he learned how to become a better human being.

Andres Wood's direction is assured and gentle. He shows his love of his country, its main characters, his own history (there are strong hints at this being at least auto-biographical). His film is beautifully scored and photographed; in addition to having one of the best performances ever by a group of children. The movie moves along quietly, touching us, teaching us, and taking us along in an unforgettable study of humanity at its worst and its best.
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One of the Greatest Movie Ever
isabelerrazuriz12 August 2004
I live in Chile, where the movie happens. I have also followed Andres Wood in his career as a Director and I must say that this is his most mature, rounded and strong piece of work.

The Movie is centered in the social phenomena that happened in the last days before the Coup in 1973. Now the movie is incredibly accurate from the Costume Design, the Cars's License Plates, the expressions, the product brands and graffitis, to the social polarization, violence and killings. As remarkable as the Production is the honesty of the director, who could have easily fall into contaminating his movie with political propaganda, instead he kept delightfully accurate.

Even though for those who knows the history, the devastating feeling is all around, the movie centers in the social experiment led by a priest who was the principal of a high class school, who takes into the school some poor mestizo children.

Machuca is one of this children's who begins a friendship with a white rich children.

The story itself works as a metaphor for the innocence of the people in that time. innocence that was lost over and over.
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Excellent Film
dsalvat125 March 2005
This movie tells a tale on the eve of the darkest hour in Chileann history, where two boys of different social background become friends.

This is a very powerful film, especially for Chileanns and many Latin Americans that suffer the prejudice of classicism (the racism of Latin America) and their ideals being beaten away from them.

You will notice many resentments and insults on this message board as the film gets more exposure due to the fact that some people still live in the past.

I hope this film brings everybody together and shows that no matter what race, religion, sexual orientation or social class, children do not discriminate, everybody feels the same emotions.

Hate is learned by the actions of role models.
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masyauefa6 March 2005
I must start with saying that this is probably one of the best movies of the year if not of all times. It s set in the "revolution" days in Chille when the Facists came to power. The story is about a rich boy who studies in a rich school when the principle decides to bring in poor students for free. Of course, the rich kids and their parents doesn't like it but it's not like the poor kids can't stand out for themselves... The rich kid is making friends with a poor kid (Machuca) and they enjoy life together while everything falls apart around them. And there is a very powerful end which I won't reveal, but you'll see it coming if you know history.

The first thing that I've noticed is the cinematography. You know how American movies are always aiming for a perfect clean picture. Well, I don't like that style, and that is why I liked the cinematography in Machuca so much. The picture is a little dark and looks to be old. It gives the movie that is set in the 70's a real 70's feeling. It's very nice, even if the story gets a little boring for a second (nah, the movie was great at every time) the picture still makes it nice to watch.

The second thing that I've noticed is that while the movie is played mainly by kids they actually hold the movie very well. It's a very convincing acting, almost flawless. But the rest of the cast is very good too, the mother, the principle, I enjoyed the acting of all of them. Also to complete a great picture there is a great soundtrack. And when I say great I mean GREAT! The music is so vivid and placed well. It will take a while to get it out of my head. Oh, and another thing. I'm still only learning to appreciate a good editing (it's not a trivial thing at all) but this movie seems to get it all right. Every scene is on place and ends when needed, there are no useless scenes and there is no feeling that something is missing. I think that it's perfect editing (in the sense that they can't edit that movie any better).

So all in all, very very recommended! It's available on DVD for now but it should be released in a month or so in the theaters but it will be a very limited release.
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This movie is about a child living in 1973, where Chile was politically imbalanced
inakiligu222 January 2005
I believe that this is one of the best Chilean films ever made. The director chose excellent actors, and his idea for his movie was very creative. I don't normally feel emotional after watching movies, but at the end, when the director played the song "Mira Niñita" from Los Jaivas, I almost cried.

The movie gave a very well balanced view of each side of social class. Giving one a better understanding of why things happened how they happened.

I have to say, most movies with kids actor are major garbage in my opinion, but Machuca was a great film, with a great plot.
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30 years later things have changed
guajolotl12 July 2007
Machuca is a recipient of the Unidad Popular program of President Allende. Allende had nationalized industry and agriculture, and embarked on a massive literacy program for Chile. We are made aware of problems, however, Gonzalo's sister's boyfriend is scary, and later we see him in a fascist demonstration. There is no meat, no vegetables, no milk in the stores. Chileans will recognize the hand of the CIA in collusion with the Chilean oligarchy, and the counterfeit money that was introduced into the country by the US to create inflation and scarcity and bring down the regime. The coup happens, and the army takes over the schools. The priest who was the principal and the liberal teachers disappear, reminiscent of "Au revoir les enfants." It is useful to compare these events with those 30 years later in Venezuela. Hugo Chávez was 17 when Allende took power, and was very much involved in following the Unidad Popular and their program. He lived through the coups in Chile and Argentina, and learned a thing or two. Many on the left criticized Allende for not calling out the army, a mistake Chávez was not to repeat. Although he had no need to declare war against the coup, Chávez had worked for 30 years with his men as lieutenant colonel, and gained the undying devotion of soldiers and population alike. When the CIA-engineered coup happened there, Venezuelans were ready, and the coup failed. One could say that without Allende there would be no Chávez.
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A movie about hate. An impressive description of extraordinary events.
Hugo_diaz29 October 2004
The last 30 years of Chilean history is a tale full of pain, sorrow, misunderstanding, intolerance, twisted economic interests and searching of ideals. In a way, this movie describes how this "story of pain" began and was developing until a horrible finale.

It's not a movie about a dictatorship by a junta, or Allende or Pinochet, or a coup whatsoever.

It's about hate. An invisible enemy that was destroying an entire country, produced mostly by foreign economic interests. All seen through the eyes of two 11 years old kids, who become friends, in spite of their opposite social status.

When I was a child (5 years old or so) I thought that was not proper to be talking about certain things. That every country had one president "elected for life" and that all communist people were terrorists, ordered by a superior chief to destroy peace, etcetera. Obviously, if you were born in a fascist world, things may appear a little mixed up when you start growing up and begin to understand that a lot of people who "protect you" are just thieves of power who think square and don't understand basic concepts such as human rights or tolerance.

So I felt a little bit of healthy envy when I saw the main characters of this film, because despite all of the political and social chaos that surround them, they know the world as it was. They were born in democracy, but they didn't took it for granted, perhaps they didn't even care. They lived their innocence, they discovered the power of friendship until everything was destroyed.

That point of the film is unbearable.

Machuca is a very good motion picture. Not in an epic way, but in a very humble insight of what happened in a little country that lost its innocence, becoming a divided nation.

Andrés Wood, the director, was a child in 1973. A tagline of the movie says "dedicated to the children of yesterday". So the film is the vision of part of the filmmaker's own life. I think a very accurate one.

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Two schoolboys from different backgrounds live through the transition from Allende to Pinochet
Chris_Docker24 August 2004
Our film is shot in Santiago, Chile, and follows two schoolboys shortly before the 1973 military coup. Gonzalo Infante is the son of a wealthy, upper middle class family and goes to a good school. His parents are outraged that children from the poor shanty towns are being introduced to the school and encouraged to mix with their children. Among the shanty town dwellers is the young Pedro Machuca. He and Gonzalo form an increasing bond of friendship as they grow into adolescence. But the gulf between their backgrounds is a powerful one.

The film has been hailed as the most successful Chilean film ever. Made on an apparently tiny budget with help from the UK and Spain, it is anything but small budget in appearance (money from the industrialised European countries goes a long way in Chile!) The story is engaging throughout, and for the Westerner the glimpses into the political history are a window onto a different world.

As there are so many myths surrounding both Allende and Pinochet, I've added a short synopsis that might help as background (and with respect to Chilean scholars – I am no expert in the field – this sort of information can be gleaned from Amnesty International, recently released USA documents and scholarly sources.

Allende was popularly elected to implement an 'anti-imperialist' program of building socialism within a democratic and constitutional framework in November of 1970. Chile at this time was in the depths of an economic crisis and, like many Latin American countries, had had much of its natural wealth and even ability to manage its own affairs taken by foreign investors, legally and illegally. The lifestyle of the wealthy upper classes contrasted to the poverty of people in the shanty towns, but the educated elite held considerable power. Bent on creating economic chaos, opponents of the new government began deliberately to exacerbate these difficult conditions: the political set off a large exodus of capital, a cessation of private investment, and an extensive withdrawal of bank deposits. nationalizations of American and other foreign-owned companies had sharply increased tensions with the United States, which gave the Nixon administration sufficient excuse to orchestrate an international financial blockade, restricting economic credit to Chile. Simultaneously, C.I.A subsidies were flowing to right-wing media, politicians, and organizations, to assist a campaign of domestic destabilization.

Allende committed suicide in the final stages of the CIA-backed military coup led by Pinochet. The United States had ran covert actions in Chile between 1963 and 1973 leading to the ascension of General Pinochet. The US Government's official report of the operations said it epitomized CIA covert actions (worldwide). However brutal the Pinochet government, it was 'good' for US interests. Thus began 17 years of dictatorship which ended March 11, 1990. According to Amnesty International and the United Nations' Human Rights Committee, 250,000 Chileans had been detained for political reasons by the end of 1973. In 1990, having failed in his bid to gain popular ratification for his rule, Pinochet handed over the presidency to the rightfully- elected Patricio Aylwin Azocar. Chile now has a market economy and the political climate has since remained stable, although there is still considerable tension between the military and the government concerning human rights violations of the Pinochet era. Pinochet still retains a considerable group of supporters, both inside and outside the country and the myths and stereotypes he generated still haunt the political future of Latin America. Some still vividly remember the social anarchy (hyperinflation, expropriation, land invasions and violent confrontations) under the socialist policies of Allende. The more important reason, however, is Chile's economic performance. Without the direct and intentional destabilising influence, and with opponents or poor people simply exterminated, the economy improved. In the weeks that followed the coup, thousands of unionists, socialists, students and left-wing activists were raped, tortured, starved and murdered. extermination of thousands of civilians in South America, but the remaining elite were protected and international relations 'normalised'. As Gonzalo's father says in the film: 'Socialism is good for Chile ... it's just not good for us.'
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From laughs to really hard to stand emotions…
serbastion8 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This Movie is without the shadow of a doubt the greatest Chilean movie ever, maybe a top 250 contender. The Plot is amazing, but also visually is so beautiful so much emotion that grows even better with the wonderful soundtrack. Maybe the fact that I am from Chile makes for me this movie so great, because its based on a historical moment that is so close in society but in a major reason the fact that the Director dedicate this movie to a priest of my school that died like a year ago. A priest that I really admire and love, he started in Chile this activity of putting poor boys in private catholic schools, in my school (Saint George), and the things in this movie are very alike what happened in real life.

Talking about the acting it's so good, the two boys are not the best there is on young actors but they did well. This Movie not only is about society in 1973s Chile, we have alcoholism, infidelity, politics, 'love', friendship and many others.


When the friendship between the boys starts we are driven to very funny moments. It started with a stupid school boy's fight but then they start to know each others world, even they are SO different they act like they don't care. The two moments that where the most shocking ones where when the priest is going out from school and all the boys stand up to say good bye, been Machuca the first one to stand up, a very cliché scene but that works great. And later when the military armies start attacking the communist they kill Silvana, friend of Gonzalo and Machuca, then Gonzalo (rich boy) escape and tell the soldier that he is not from there, and shows him his nice cloths and they let him go, very moving moment.

I rate this Movie 9/10, not 10 only because that's the best, and I have only rated 10 two movies in my life. AMAZING...
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This is a film which can easily make François Truffaut weep inconsolably ! ! ! !
FilmCriticLalitRao4 July 2008
"Machuca" is an excellent film for all ages made by Chilian filmmaker Andres Wood.The best thing which can be said about "Machuca" is that it is one the those rare films which are a superb visual statement on human condition.It is true that young children will surely have a lot to learn from this film but adults can also learn a thing or two if they make up their minds to reduce conflicts in the world.Some of the major issues discussed in this film are about friendship,sexual awakening,class differences,trouble at home,trouble with church and trouble with military.In this film it is nice to see how two young boys tackle above mentioned themes with courage,determination and dignity.A moral lesson to be learn from "Machuca" is that weak souls are strong in dealing with all kinds of emotional adversities.Although films featuring young protagonists are a common trend in the annals of world cinema nevertheless Muachuca remains a totally different film as it is about self discovery,knowing one's limitations and keeping one's head straight even in the times of adversities.This is a must see film for all admirers of serious cinema,meaningful films and Latin American history.
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Me llamo Machuca...
hck-1316 January 2006
I knew nothing about this movie when I won a couple of tickets to see it in a local Film Festival.

I'm a 20 year-old Mexican and I didn't know what happened in Chile those years.

Although you see the political and social conflict through the eyes of a boy, the narrative is far from naïve. The conflicts that Gonzalo (Matías Quer) lives are real for a high class boy trying to grow up in a country that's changing fast everything he knew.

Is because of the friendship he makes with Pedro Machuca (Ariel Mateluna), a child who lives in an impoverished community, that he gets in touch with other side of the story.

The acting of Manuela Martelli is as always wonderful. She is one of the best young talents in Chile.

"Machuca" is a very touching well-written story. I think everyone has to know what happened then.

After the movie I went home and started to look after the information and facts that are showed in the film. This movie opened my eyes into another reality.

It's an unforgettable film. By far one of the best I've ever seen.
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machuca a slice of hidden history
abelha_buzz14 March 2005
Machuca gives you a glimpse of an era, a snapshot of a piece of Latin American history that is so complex many people do not dare broach the subject. It is a tale of a friendship across class and political boundaries and it is told through the observant eyes of children. Political, social and class taboos are covered in a sympathetic and innocent way and, are illustrated by the filming of stunning views of Chile. The main characters in the film may be seen and not heard but they are definitely all seeing and it all culminates in a shocking climax to the film. The only negative comment I heard as I was leaving the cinema was, "It was amazing, but, its only the story of a split second of events...there were so much more pain and so many more victims."
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A masterpiece!
filmmaker_nyc23 September 2004
Machuca is by far one of the best Chilean movies ever made.

A story that touches the soul of the Chilean people and show in a dazzling way the atmosphere of 1973, just days before the September 11 coup. Director Andres Wood knows how to direct children a-la Truffaut and he knows how to handle the camera and the emotion at a great level. The photography of the film as well as its editing shows the great development of the Chilean film industry in the last years.

This film have to be nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Film.
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Political Chaos from the Vantage of Children's Eyes
gradyharp6 May 2007
Andrés Wood is a highly regarded Chilean filmmaker, a man unafraid to take on controversial issues and present them in a manner that is revelatory to his audience, whether that audience is in Chile or other South American countries - or in Europe or North America. In MACHUCA he transports us to the year 1973 in Chile when Pinochet's military coup overthrew Allende's socialist 'democracy'. Knowing that there remains a divided opinion of this period of time, a time when Allende supporters who could not escape the country were murdered or placed in detention camps as political prisoners, Woods sensitively recreates this period through the eyes of children from the populace divided by the middle class and the poor, a technique which works on every level.

Saint Patrick's School for boys in Santiago is headed by a kind priest/principal Father McEnroe (Ernesto Malbran) and the rich to middle class uniformed boys include one 'strawberry faced', quiet, chubby Gonzalo Infante (Matías Quer) whose family is of means but has issues of covert infidelity with the mother (Aline Küppenheim) and father (Francisco Reyes). The Allende government is shaky, and in an attempt to appease the poor class, Saint Patrick's School takes on students from the shantytowns to 'democratize' education. Among these new students is Pedro Machuca (Ariel Mateluna) who seems to be a loner but soon becomes the brunt of the rich kids' prejudice. Gonzalo befriends Pedro and gradually the two form a strong bond which leads to each of the boys learning about their separate families and life styles: Gonzalo's life of luxury dazzles Pedro while Pedro's humble shack houses warm family that Gonzalo envies. The friendship leads to a close examination of the schism of racism and political clashes brought into sharp focus as the military coup changes everything. Only friendship remains intact in a dramatically tested fashion.

Andrés Woods marries the political and the human aspects of this chaotic time in Chile and offers us insights into the ongoing changing governments of South America. His script (which he wrote with Eliseo Altunaga, Roberto Brodsky and Mamoun Hassan) is spare leaving space for much of the story to be told by observing the interaction of his two main characters with their associates. The result is a deeply moving film, an opportunity to observe the tenuous times of a period most of us barely understand. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp
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a great film in every possible way
vampirock_x2 April 2007
This is almost the first Chilean film I've seen, and I was totally blown away by it.

Seeing the three children rejoicing in a parade, one may already know that it's a serious historical film --- at least I did, especially when I related it to "Turtles can fly", another historical epic from children's view in the same year. However, you don't need to know very much about Chilean history to enter this story --- as long as you are familiar with the universal phrase of civil war.

The three children brought forward incredibly amazing acting, which is quite different from the way American young stars do. They are rawer, looser and more original. Also it's obvious that the makers put a lot of efforts in cinematography to show us surprisingly poetic and childish views of the period. The story, though full of twists and turns, is as natural and convincing as one can be. It doesn't force your tears. They'll just come unaffectedly.

After all, the pain of war is universal, and so is the darkness of society. Those issues may be far beyond our concerns, but the way people dealt with it is still worth thinking twice.
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The context surrounding "Machuca"
wrathful_nyarlathotep19 February 2005
The film is set in 1973 when Salvador Allende was the president of Chile. In those days, Chile was undergoing a dire economic crisis, which forced him to travel to the Soviet Union to ask for a loan. The situation for Chileans couldn't be worse: enterprise owners, against left-winged governmental policies, were very reluctant to produce. As a result of the scarcity of basic needs, people had to stand in extremely long queues in order to obtain products like bread and milk. Generally, these were not enough, so they had to do anything to satisfy their hunger. Chile's always been a country full of wandering cats and dogs. However, in those years those animals were seldom seen in the streets. On the other side of the coin, wealthy people used to go to places where these goods were sold secretly without standing any lines.

I think the film very accurately depicts the social, political, and economic circumstances the country was going through, siding with neither Socialism nor Capitalism. Throughout "Machuca", you will be able to spot the dark side of both political views: the right-winged military brutality and; on the other hand, the left-winged expropriation of lands and houses.

In short, I see "Machuca" as the Chilean version of the Italian equivalent "Life is Beautiful". Really worth watching!
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subtle political drama is very good for a chilean movie
ixta_coyotl11 June 2005
Good films sometimes come together in pairs or small waves. In that sense Machuca makes a fine companion to the Mexican film Voces Inocentes, also released in 2004. Both films are set during tumultuous times in Latin America. Both expose us to the reality of those events through the intriguing new perspective of the eyes of children. Machuca is a much more subtle and subdued film than its Mexican companion almost throughout, yet still manages to maintain our interest with some marvelous scenes capturing youthful innocence and its gradual but certain loss.

Manuela Martelli provided a standout performer as Gonzalo and Peter's young female friend. There seems to be a cinematic movement to show more and more teen actors in romantic situations, and this film doesn't shy away from pushing the age limit down a few years. While all the performances in Machuca are good, they seemed to me just a tad short of the level achieved in Voces Inocentes. And despite being a part Spanish film, the editing and other production values seemed just a touch less than the world-class level achieved by its Mexican companion. But I hesitate to say anything negative about this subtle and touching film. Machuca is definitely worth watching and it is probably the best Chilean film to date.

Finally, a word on the politics: I was raised in US colleges to believe that Allende was some kind of martyr crucified by the CIA. While the US certainly helped kill him, his rule did anything but make Chile a workers' paradise. While external forces certainly didn't help him, there is no question that his policies created financial and economic hardship above all for the working people of his country who couldn't escape them. If Marxism really worked, we would all be speaking Russian now. That said, the choices faced by Chileans during the calamity of the 20th century were between Allende's brand of fanatical isolationism, or Pinochet's brand of hate- fueled mercantilist cronyism. Neither group had the moral high ground and neither group had a solution to Chile's woes, and the result was a loss for virtually everyone involved. I think Machuca captured that idea very well.
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Real Deal
finn_6 January 2008
You know, best movies are so intense that you can even taste them. You sit there in the dark glued to your seat and you forget time, your popcorn and companion. This movie was definitely one of them.

Machuca has a strong political undercurrent. We see how the tension between poor socialists and the wealthy right-wing nationalists accumulates to the violent outburst. The brutal coup d'etat was orchestrated by the CIA and the US foreign office and will always remain as one of the most shameful actions ever taken by the US government.

However, for me the political circumstances were a setting for a story of friendship beyond boundaries of class, wealth or color of a skin.

Now, Machuca is not the first film to depict friendship of two persons coming from different backgrounds, but it is astonishing in its honesty. Why did it feel so real? Not once it felt emotionally calculated nor pretentious. That's a sign of a great director. Also the young actors were very convincing. Actually, I can hardly believe they knew there was a camera around.

Another amazing factor in this movie was the authenticity in which it showed us the complexness of life and relationships. It's not easy, growing up, and honestly we adults really often make it more hard than it ought to be.

Folks, this ain't Disney. It's rough and tough movie (but not totally without humor). I felt sad and empty afterwards but I know for right reasons.

10 out of 10.
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In Times of dictatorship,two boys from opposite classes make friendship
Lady_Targaryen12 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
1973,Chile. Gonzalo Infante is a rich boy, who studies in an elite and American school called ' Saint Patrick'', one of the best schools from Chile. There, he meets Pedro Machuca, one of the many boys who came to study in Saint Patrick with the help of the priests, who wants to make a integration and democratization where everybody independent from their classes, have the same rights to study in good schools. But Pedro is poor,lives in one of the worst places near school and barely has clothes to wear: the opposite of Gonzalo. When Gonzalo and Pedro makes friendship,they faces a new world for both, where Pedro is always the 'poor boy that can be a thief'and Gonzalo 'the rich boy who doesn't have any problems and a perfect life'. To get the situations worst,Chilean society is in one of the hardest transitions that already happened, from Allende to Pinochet, where communists are against bourgeois and vice versa. In their school always have fights, and almost all the parents from Saint Patrick don't agree with the school new system.

This movie is a good recommendation for all people and also it makes us think if having democracy for all will always be an utopia.
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Children teaching adults to be human
rafael-anschau11 September 2007
The film is about children who get along, and then get separated. This happens because their families belong to different political sides, in a time and place where this was big deal.

Spirituality unite us, politics divides us. I don't give the film the last star because it tends to biased towards the left(we have on bad leftist(the drunk) and a few mildly bad right wingers(a clueless semi-hippie, a crazy guy who thinks he's bruce lee, an adulterous mother and the wealthy guy who sleeps with her).

Without the bias, the film could have been a much more profound tale of humanism among children, serving as an example to politically divided adults.

Also, as a Latin American, I've always felt away from both the bully-like military backed right wing, and the hopelessly classist "it's not my fault" left-wing.

So I strongly empathized with the story.
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