The death of General Augusto Pinochet on December 10, 2006, created a riot of emotions among the Chilean people. While many looked back in anguish and horror at the years that Pinochet ruled as the head of a military junta, others celebrated the former leader’s strong anti-Communist policy.
Filmmakers Bettina Perut and Ivan Onsovikoff use the news of Pinochet’s death as the embarkation point for an unusual production that mixes nonfiction filmmaking with dramatizations of the Chilean public reaction to Pinochet’s death. While the subject is certainly deserving of consideration – after all, no one in Chile was without an opinion regarding Pinochet’s style of government and the results he created – Perut and Onsovikoff strangely opted for an extreme experimental film approach to their work. When the filmmakers try to get personal observations from ordinary people, they fill the screen with extreme close-ups of the lips, eyes, hands and feet of those being interviewed. One woman is constantly presented within an oversized frame made of flowers.
The visual aspects of the film quickly become ridiculous, and the impact of their core subject is lost in mess of imageries that suggest the filmmakers cannot tell the difference between avant-garde and self-indulgence. Even worse is a poorly staged recreation of a pro-Pinochet rally, where a photogenic crowd taunts the “Communist faggots” that opposed the dictator. The resulting work is nearly unwatchable. Hell, even Pinochet deserved a better film than this!