Movie Recommendations

I’ve been sick with gastritis (a stomach bug) for the past couple of days, so in addition to eating jello and chicken soup and soda crackers with quesillo (something I can only eat when sick) and ginger ale, I’ve been watching movies.

I have a short attention span when it comes to movies. When I watch movies with my family back in the states, I’m known to fall asleep in the middle, miss important details, and then ask that everyone explain the ending to me. Here, I normally watch movies on my laptop and therefore tend to pause halfway through and check my e-mail, or google something the movie talks about. And for this reason, I normally stick to watching light romantic comedies, that somehow can hold my attention more than serious dramas.

But yesterday I watched two movies actually worth talking about (i.e. they were not entitled Friends with Benefits or The Hangover 2), so I’m going to talk about them.

También la lluvia (Even the Rain) (2010)

Rétrospective Gael García Bernal - Paris Cinéma - MK2 Bibliothèque

Via y.caradec on flickr.

My dear friend recommended this movie to me, and I didn’t even know that Gael García Bernal was in it until I started watching it. He is perhaps one of my favorite actors and very easy on the eyes, so I would have probably hurried to watch it before if I had known. Tambien la lluvia is about a team of Spanish filmmakers who travel to Cochamamba, Bolivia in 2000 to film a movie about Christopher Columbus and the Taíno rebellion on the island of Hispaniola. They decide to film in Bolivia because of the cheap labor they can obtain, and cast indigenous Bolivians as the Taíno people. At the same time, the Water Wars of Cochamaba are starting, and one of the Bolivian actors who they have cast as the leader of the Taíno rebellion is one of the leaders of the water protests. It is a beautiful film that juxtaposes the story of Columbus’ massacre of the Taíno with the modern-day subjugation of the indigenous people in Bolivia.

This movie is in Spanish, and I had to turn on the subtitles because they use a lot of terms from Spain and Bolivia that I am not familiar with.

Missing (1982)

This film is based on the true story of the death of American writer Charles Horman during the coup d’état in Chile in 1973. I decided to watch this movie, because this week a Chilean judge ordered the indictment of a former U.S. military officer, Capt. Raymond E. Davis, in the Horman’s death. According to the movie, and to declassified state department documents, Horman was killed by the Chilean military with complicity from the U.S. government, because he found out too much information about the U.S. involvement in the coup. The movie was released in 1982, when Dictator Augosto Pinochet was still in power, which was a risky move. In fact, the movie was banned in Chile at the time of its release.

Missing was filmed in Mexico, because it obviously could not be filmed in Chile, and in fact, Chile is never mentioned by name during the film, although the cities of Viña del Mar and Santiago are.

I’m not an expert, and didn’t live in Santiago during the coup so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of how accurately the movie portrays the ambiance in Chile after the coup. I know there was a curfew, and bodies showed up on the streets, but I don’t know if the army went around shooting people in broad daylight with machine guns, like it portrays in a couple of scenes of the movie.

However, I think it’s an important movie, especially if, like me,  you don’t know the story of Charlies Horman.

The movie is in English, and most of the Spanish is subtitled.

What good movies have you seen recently?

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6 thoughts on “Movie Recommendations

  1. Thanks, Abby, for the suggestion of “Tambien la lluvia.” “Missing” is a fine film, and it was timely to see it, given this week’s news.

    Two films with Chilean connections that I recommend are:
    Machuca. ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0378284/ ) A Chilean film, directed by Andres Wood, recounts experiences of social integration at a colegio in Santiago just before and during the coup. It tells of the friendship of children in that turbulent period. The actual setting of the film is St. George’s College, directed by my religious order, and is based on Amante Eledin Parraguez’s “Tres Anos por Nacer,” his account of studying at St. George.

    Il Postino. ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110877/ ) An Italian film, directed by Michael Radford, tells of Pablo Neruda’s exile on an Italian isle. It is a wonderful introduction to the personality of the Nobel-winning poet and tells a beautiful story of his letter carrier.

    I highly recommend them both.

    • I LOVE Machuca. It is one of my favorite movies of all time. I have Il Postino, but haven’t finished watching it. I need to give it another shot. Thanks for the recommendations!

  2. In the eighties I was living in a small town near Valparaiso and the first time I went to Santiago was in the nineties so I cannot comment on how was there. What I can say about life in Quilpué is that it was very quiet, and most of the problems happened in Valparaíso. I remember when I was kid and we went to visit my grandparents that we needed to come back early because after certain time it was forbidden to be out. Since I was less than 10 years old I didn’t get much of what was happening and I have to thank my family for protecting me from what happened around us.
    I can tell you a couple of things though. I remember once that we were eating at a restaurant with my parents and suddenly somebody came running into the restaurant and tried to hide himself in the kitchen. Not a minute after the police came running and grab him and took him out of the restaurant. He was yelling and all that I remember (my parents throw me and my brother under the table), was that he was yelling something against Pinochet and something about the FPMR (Frente Patriótico Manuel Rodriguez). After they left everything was calm again. Or another time when I was walking with my grandfather and a police van passed on the street with some prisioners, and they were also screaming about Pinochet and some other terrorist group.
    I could tell you in extensum about the massive protests after the 1981 education law, or even about the id controls that were common during that time. It was also the time were the police was allowed to take somebody prisioner just because they thought it was needed (called “detención por sospecha”) so people were always trying to not be noticed by anybody.
    I could also tell you about the many times that I woke up and my parents where talking and suddenly it was a school free day. Or the times that I had to spent with my grandparents (who lived in Valparaíso and had a house in Olmué), because it was safer. On those times was very common for the FPMR, MIR & MAPU to set bombs all over, blowing out buildings and innocent people passing by. More than one time my grandfather will cancel the trip to downtown (they used to live in Cerro Alegre), to avoid us going around the bomb sites while they were cleaning up the mess. I could also tell you about the times that people used to close the route between Quilpué and Viña del Mar (on those times there was no Troncal Sur). They used to block the route in Canal Chacao/Paso Hondo, and force everybody to get off their vehicles, give them money and then sing one or two songs relative to their fight plus the national anthem. I remember being in the car while a couple of very dodgy men and a woman came to my mom with chains and other primitive tools and forced my mom out of the car. Luckily my mom promptly obeyed so my brother and I were spared.
    So, all in all it was not a pleasant time to be. It was not a time where people were nice to each other. It was not a time were things were simple. Good and bad was not easy to distinguish. Was it ok for the police to stop the guy on the restaurant? Was it ok for people to force my mom out of the car with two small kids on it? How do you define what was good or bad on those days? Is it because some people were fighting for democracy that it was ok to blow out building and/or people? Or was it ok because it was the police to stop random people on the street (and do whatever they did to them afterwards)?
    It is easy to say that one side was as guilty as hell and the other one was white doves, innocent of all charges. It is easy to think that because some films or some stories that people tell, everything was black and white and good and bad were easy to distinguish. It was not, it was an awful time to live.

    • Carlos, thank you so much for your comment. It was very interesting to read. Your account of growing up during the dictatorship is one that I’ve heard from a lot of people. Nothing was black and white, and it was hard to distinguish right from wrong. I think you’re right, that films tend to portray one side as good and one side as bad, and Missing definitely did that. It didn’t show bombings by MIR or the Frente or MAPU. The worst it showed was some guys writing graffitti and the military chasing them down the streets with machine guns. Maybe it’s because the film was told from the perspective of Charles Horman’s family, who obviously would have some bias against the military, but it is good to be reminded that the other side was far from blameless.

  3. I’m sooo behind in my blog reading but there was just the Iberamericano Film Festival in Huelva and I saw the Chilean movie, “Que Pena tu Boda,” TWICE!! I loved it (possibly I’ve missed the Chilean accent and culture) but then I realized it was a sequel to “Que Pena tu Vida.” Which I have since also watched twice online. Have you seen them??

  4. Wow, thanks for the recommendations, Abby. Will definitely be checking these out.

    Recently I watched Amores Perros much to the nagging of my Mexican roommates and also went to see The Artist at the cinema. Both I’d definitely recommend. 🙂

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Movie Recommendations

I’ve been sick with gastritis (a stomach bug) for the past couple of days, so in addition to eating jello and chicken soup and soda crackers with quesillo (something I can only eat when sick) and ginger ale, I’ve been watching movies.

I have a short attention span when it comes to movies. When I watch movies with my family back in the states, I’m known to fall asleep in the middle, miss important details, and then ask that everyone explain the ending to me. Here, I normally watch movies on my laptop and therefore tend to pause halfway through and check my e-mail, or google something the movie talks about. And for this reason, I normally stick to watching light romantic comedies, that somehow can hold my attention more than serious dramas.

But yesterday I watched two movies actually worth talking about (i.e. they were not entitled Friends with Benefits or The Hangover 2), so I’m going to talk about them.

También la lluvia (Even the Rain) (2010)

Rétrospective Gael García Bernal - Paris Cinéma - MK2 Bibliothèque

Via y.caradec on flickr.

My dear friend recommended this movie to me, and I didn’t even know that Gael García Bernal was in it until I started watching it. He is perhaps one of my favorite actors and very easy on the eyes, so I would have probably hurried to watch it before if I had known. Tambien la lluvia is about a team of Spanish filmmakers who travel to Cochamamba, Bolivia in 2000 to film a movie about Christopher Columbus and the Taíno rebellion on the island of Hispaniola. They decide to film in Bolivia because of the cheap labor they can obtain, and cast indigenous Bolivians as the Taíno people. At the same time, the Water Wars of Cochamaba are starting, and one of the Bolivian actors who they have cast as the leader of the Taíno rebellion is one of the leaders of the water protests. It is a beautiful film that juxtaposes the story of Columbus’ massacre of the Taíno with the modern-day subjugation of the indigenous people in Bolivia.

This movie is in Spanish, and I had to turn on the subtitles because they use a lot of terms from Spain and Bolivia that I am not familiar with.

Missing (1982)

This film is based on the true story of the death of American writer Charles Horman during the coup d’état in Chile in 1973. I decided to watch this movie, because this week a Chilean judge ordered the indictment of a former U.S. military officer, Capt. Raymond E. Davis, in the Horman’s death. According to the movie, and to declassified state department documents, Horman was killed by the Chilean military with complicity from the U.S. government, because he found out too much information about the U.S. involvement in the coup. The movie was released in 1982, when Dictator Augosto Pinochet was still in power, which was a risky move. In fact, the movie was banned in Chile at the time of its release.

Missing was filmed in Mexico, because it obviously could not be filmed in Chile, and in fact, Chile is never mentioned by name during the film, although the cities of Viña del Mar and Santiago are.

I’m not an expert, and didn’t live in Santiago during the coup so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of how accurately the movie portrays the ambiance in Chile after the coup. I know there was a curfew, and bodies showed up on the streets, but I don’t know if the army went around shooting people in broad daylight with machine guns, like it portrays in a couple of scenes of the movie.

However, I think it’s an important movie, especially if, like me,  you don’t know the story of Charlies Horman.

The movie is in English, and most of the Spanish is subtitled.

What good movies have you seen recently?

6 thoughts on “Movie Recommendations

  1. Thanks, Abby, for the suggestion of “Tambien la lluvia.” “Missing” is a fine film, and it was timely to see it, given this week’s news.

    Two films with Chilean connections that I recommend are:
    Machuca. ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0378284/ ) A Chilean film, directed by Andres Wood, recounts experiences of social integration at a colegio in Santiago just before and during the coup. It tells of the friendship of children in that turbulent period. The actual setting of the film is St. George’s College, directed by my religious order, and is based on Amante Eledin Parraguez’s “Tres Anos por Nacer,” his account of studying at St. George.

    Il Postino. ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110877/ ) An Italian film, directed by Michael Radford, tells of Pablo Neruda’s exile on an Italian isle. It is a wonderful introduction to the personality of the Nobel-winning poet and tells a beautiful story of his letter carrier.

    I highly recommend them both.

    • I LOVE Machuca. It is one of my favorite movies of all time. I have Il Postino, but haven’t finished watching it. I need to give it another shot. Thanks for the recommendations!

  2. In the eighties I was living in a small town near Valparaiso and the first time I went to Santiago was in the nineties so I cannot comment on how was there. What I can say about life in Quilpué is that it was very quiet, and most of the problems happened in Valparaíso. I remember when I was kid and we went to visit my grandparents that we needed to come back early because after certain time it was forbidden to be out. Since I was less than 10 years old I didn’t get much of what was happening and I have to thank my family for protecting me from what happened around us.
    I can tell you a couple of things though. I remember once that we were eating at a restaurant with my parents and suddenly somebody came running into the restaurant and tried to hide himself in the kitchen. Not a minute after the police came running and grab him and took him out of the restaurant. He was yelling and all that I remember (my parents throw me and my brother under the table), was that he was yelling something against Pinochet and something about the FPMR (Frente Patriótico Manuel Rodriguez). After they left everything was calm again. Or another time when I was walking with my grandfather and a police van passed on the street with some prisioners, and they were also screaming about Pinochet and some other terrorist group.
    I could tell you in extensum about the massive protests after the 1981 education law, or even about the id controls that were common during that time. It was also the time were the police was allowed to take somebody prisioner just because they thought it was needed (called “detención por sospecha”) so people were always trying to not be noticed by anybody.
    I could also tell you about the many times that I woke up and my parents where talking and suddenly it was a school free day. Or the times that I had to spent with my grandparents (who lived in Valparaíso and had a house in Olmué), because it was safer. On those times was very common for the FPMR, MIR & MAPU to set bombs all over, blowing out buildings and innocent people passing by. More than one time my grandfather will cancel the trip to downtown (they used to live in Cerro Alegre), to avoid us going around the bomb sites while they were cleaning up the mess. I could also tell you about the times that people used to close the route between Quilpué and Viña del Mar (on those times there was no Troncal Sur). They used to block the route in Canal Chacao/Paso Hondo, and force everybody to get off their vehicles, give them money and then sing one or two songs relative to their fight plus the national anthem. I remember being in the car while a couple of very dodgy men and a woman came to my mom with chains and other primitive tools and forced my mom out of the car. Luckily my mom promptly obeyed so my brother and I were spared.
    So, all in all it was not a pleasant time to be. It was not a time where people were nice to each other. It was not a time were things were simple. Good and bad was not easy to distinguish. Was it ok for the police to stop the guy on the restaurant? Was it ok for people to force my mom out of the car with two small kids on it? How do you define what was good or bad on those days? Is it because some people were fighting for democracy that it was ok to blow out building and/or people? Or was it ok because it was the police to stop random people on the street (and do whatever they did to them afterwards)?
    It is easy to say that one side was as guilty as hell and the other one was white doves, innocent of all charges. It is easy to think that because some films or some stories that people tell, everything was black and white and good and bad were easy to distinguish. It was not, it was an awful time to live.

    • Carlos, thank you so much for your comment. It was very interesting to read. Your account of growing up during the dictatorship is one that I’ve heard from a lot of people. Nothing was black and white, and it was hard to distinguish right from wrong. I think you’re right, that films tend to portray one side as good and one side as bad, and Missing definitely did that. It didn’t show bombings by MIR or the Frente or MAPU. The worst it showed was some guys writing graffitti and the military chasing them down the streets with machine guns. Maybe it’s because the film was told from the perspective of Charles Horman’s family, who obviously would have some bias against the military, but it is good to be reminded that the other side was far from blameless.

  3. I’m sooo behind in my blog reading but there was just the Iberamericano Film Festival in Huelva and I saw the Chilean movie, “Que Pena tu Boda,” TWICE!! I loved it (possibly I’ve missed the Chilean accent and culture) but then I realized it was a sequel to “Que Pena tu Vida.” Which I have since also watched twice online. Have you seen them??

  4. Wow, thanks for the recommendations, Abby. Will definitely be checking these out.

    Recently I watched Amores Perros much to the nagging of my Mexican roommates and also went to see The Artist at the cinema. Both I’d definitely recommend. 🙂

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