“Chile 1976”: The double life of a housewife during the Pinochet dictatorship

The meaning of “the world” – to see

Carmen, an elegant bourgeois, asks an apothecary clerk to prepare the right shade for her to paint a wall she wants to resemble a sunset. In a large basin, mix a few drops of blue with pink. Not far from the store, we hear an explosion: two drops of paint stain the customer’s shoes. It has been three years since Pinochet’s coup. In terms of political repression, 1976 is promising “The Darkest and Cruelest” In the words of the military dictatorship, filmmaker Manuela Martel.

The actor, who is signing his first film there as a director, develops a political thriller based on the memories of a grandmother confined to the role of a housewife – she kills herself. All that remained was for this phantom to offer the trinkets of a dangerous life that would be hidden beneath the calm waters of a folded existence beneath the domestic sphere.

A magnificent coffin

Trapped in the role of a young grandmother, Carmen oversees the renovation of her seaside home, which will host her family for the winter holidays. The house as an environment, but also a magnificent coffin, a metaphor for the rejection of the entire Chilean bourgeoisie, which prefers to look elsewhere. Because nothing tells about Carmen’s double life: at the request of the local priest, she cares for a wounded young man – a revolutionary in fact – without trying to find out more.

The muted staging glides over a world of surfaces and objects, taking the form of denial that calls out to break from all sides: the television news, the body found on the beach, the suspicions of the neighbor, the fear that slowly awakens Carmen. A look captured by the elegant sharpness of Aline Kuppenheim, brunette Gena Rowlands, shimmering between blindness and clarity. with a little touch Chile 1976 Observes the meeting of the political context and the housewife, whose filming is as brilliant an idea as Manuela Martel’s adulterous passion.

An Argentinian and Chilean film by Manuela Martel. With Aline Kuppenheim, Nicolas Sepulveda, Hugo Medina (1h35).

Source: Le Monde



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