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The Crack Magazine

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1976

Director: Manuela Martelli

Stars: Aline Küppenheim, Nicolás Sepúlveda, Hugo Medina, Alejandro Goic

Actor turned director Manuela Martelli’s debut is a stylish and engrossing drama. Carmen (Küppenheim) is an elegant middle-class housewife married to a doctor, Miguel (Goic) in 1976 Chile. Her husband teases Carmen in front of dinner party guests saying she has her ‘head in the clouds’. Her disconnected air stems partly, it is suggested, from her disappointment at how as a woman she was prevented from studying medicine. Carmen is overseeing redecoration of the family beach home and while visiting the decorators she hears a commotion outside. On returning to the car, she sees only a single woman’s shoe in the street, a sign of a dissident who has been ‘disappeared’. Then the young local priest Father Sanchez (Medina) visits, seeking Carmen’s help in tending to a young man Elias (Sepúlveda) who has been shot in the leg. She agrees and procures some antibiotics. As the chain-smoking Carmen becomes more conscious of the political situation in her country, she becomes more paranoid and suspicious that she is being watched. Meanwhile dictator Pinochet can be heard on TV attempting to justify his brutal crackdowns. Küppenheim is riveting as the bourgeois woman beginning to suspect that her privileged existence is far more precarious than she’d realised. An increasingly dangerous environment is mooted by the gradual injection of red into the film’s palate, while Mariá Portugal's retro synth score bolsters the feeling of disorientation as the paranoia is ramped up.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm

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