Films on historical political occurrences can be captivating. It can educate you on things you never even knew happened in this world much before your arrival. And what if such a film is told from the perspective of some children who lived through such historical events. Thats what the Chilean film 'Machuca' is all about. Directed by acclaimed Chilean film maker Andres Wood, Machuca is the story of Gonzalo Infante, a rich introvert kid and Pedro Machuca, a kid from the slums.
Father McEnroe is the principal of St. George school in Santiago. He brings in the revolutionary social integration project by which kids from poor backgrounds are given free education and slowly integrated with the rich kids already studying in the school. Its an excercise to bring equality in a society waking up to the ideals of communism. All this is happening around 1973 when chile was under the Presidentship of Salvador Allande. There's unrest in the Chilean society against the ways of the Government. The uprising of the lower strata powered by the communists is amply chronicled in the movie. The protests leading up to the military coup and death of the presidentare also shown. The main story happens in this background. Gonzalo and Machuca, the representatives of the rich and poor class becomes thick friends. Gonzalo sees the horrors of slum life and Machuca the luxury of a rich life for the first time with the help of each other. But the political unrest plays havoc with their lives too. The film paints a grim picture of lives going astray and getting lost in accordance with the changing political climate in the country.
Aided by excellent cinematography, powerful performances and a soulful music score, Machuca will surely give you a pain filled pleasure trip. It also made me do a short study on the Chilean history around the 1970S. The most interesting thing that I found was on the death of Allande, which is still a matter of controversy on whether it was a murder or suicide. It was said that he committed suicide with the AK 47 rifle presented to him by Fidel Casstro. The rifle had the following engravings on it-""To my good friend Salvador from Fidel, who by different means tries to achieve the same goals". The military dictator Augusto Pinochet who came after him was a bigger curse for Chileans. He ushered in an age of repression in which lakhs of poor Chileans where brutally tortured and murdered. A glimpse of his regime's cruelty is shown towards the end of the film. This film is a must watch
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Darren Aronofsky is one director I been following closely from the time I watched the drug classic 'Requiem for a Dream'. His old work 'pi' confused me slightly whereas the recent work 'Fountain' amazed me. The Wrestler, touted as the comeback vehicle of 'the Harley Davidson' man Mickey Rourke, is vastly different from all of Darren's previous offerings. Its a close study on the life of a former champion wrestler. With his body failing him, Randy 'Ram' Robinson fights on with the sheer power of his will. See this for Rourke's performance and Aronofsky's vareity fare.
2. Waltz with Bashir
Another political film in the form of an animation. It reminded me a lot of that wonderful animated film on an Iranian girl, 'Persepolis'. Here also, the film's director is the protagonist. Ari Folman had served in the Israeli army during the Lebanon war in 1982. But, the only problem is he can't remmeber anything related to his time in the army. He gets the same nightmare every night in which he's chased by 26 dogs. The movie is a journey of self discovery by Ari, who goes in search of old friends who served with him in the army to find out what actually happened in Lebanon.
3. No smoking
I was looking for this film for a long time. Famous for its record setting disappearing act from the theatres, this Anurag Kashyap movie has all the elements that can drive you mad. John Abraham plays K, a hopeless chain smoker. After his wife leaves him citing his chain smoking, he takes his old smoking mate Abbas(played wonderfully well by Ranvir Shorey)'s advice and joins Prayogshala, a place famous for treating every known illness and addiction. Its only after he gets in there and meets the Guruji that K realises that he has fell into a soup...Its a mind numbing roller coaster ride from there. Some things are better left unexplained. I salute Anurag Kashyap's ability to create deeply intoxicating films.
your Crusader Praveen