Salvador Allende

Director: Patricio Guzman

1992| Colour| 57 mins| Spanish with English subtitles| Chile

Patricio Guzman has made many films about his homeland, but this one focuses on the man who created what he calls ‘utopia’. The socialist Salvador Allende who was briefly president of Chile took his political philosophy from an Italian shoemaker and swore to depend on the integrity, patriotism and morality of the Chilean people. Allende strove for 20 years to become elected, but was shot within two years, on a fateful September 11th 1973.
Former U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered the CIA to do anything necessary to prevent him from becoming president even after he had been elected. Later the CIA backed the coup d’etat that led to Pinochet’s dictatorship. The U.S. ambassador to Chile at the time describes Allende as a decent, reasonable man who may have come to terms with the United States had he not wished to be counted among such socialist heroes as Castro, Che Guevara and Ho Chi Minh. Old friends say he was a libertarian whose inspiration was the French Revolution.
Using current interv i e ws and old footage, Guzman makes a compelling and moving case for an extraordinary man. The depth of Chile’s and the world’s loss is seen in close-ups of the old men who were there and who live with their regret. The film is a personal exploration into the history of his country and pays homage to this emblematic person ‘who marked my life.’

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