“Chile 1976” by Manuela Martelli, a woman’s secret
by Manuela Martelli
Chilean film, 1 h 35
1976 was one of the darkest and cruelest years of General Pinochet’s dictatorship. Three years after the coup that put an end to the socialist experiment of President Salvador Allende, repression is ferocious against dissidents and paranoia is at its height in a country which tries despite everything to resume the course of a life normal.
But how to completely ignore such a situation? She will appear in the life of Carmen, a housewife of the upper middle class, like the stain of pink paint that splashes on one of her pumps at the start of the film when, leaving a store, she is jostled by a police raid in the streets of Santiago.
An invisible threat
Married to a head doctor at the hospital whom she sees little, mother of two children who left home a long time ago and already a grandmother, she overcomes her boredom by redecorating the seaside house where she is preparing to receive the whole family for the holidays. It is there that the priest of the parish of which she presides over the good works asks her to treat a young revolutionary hunted by the authorities and to lead him somewhere to a safe place.
The reasons why she agrees to put herself in danger remain unclear. Just as the threat, real or supposed, which hangs over her is invisible, reinforcing the atmosphere of paranoia in which the whole film is bathed.
The actress Manuela Martinelli shows a great mastery for her first realization. The political context and its procession of violence are constantly kept out of sight. The use of color, a pink that gradually turns red, and music are enough to transcribe the tension in which this woman finds herself, admirably interpreted by a great Chilean actress, Aline Küppenheim.
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