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USA: Menemsha Films
UK: Artificial Eye
Cast: Matias Quer, Ariel Mateluna, Manuela Martelli, Aline Kuppenheim, Federico Luppi, Ernesto Malbran, Tamara Acosta, Francisco Reyes, Alejandro Trejo, Maria Olga Matte, Gabriela Medina, Lusi Dubó, Andrea Garcia-Huidobro, Tiago Correa, Pablo Krögh
Director: Andres Wood
Countries: Spain / Chile
Language: Spanish (English Subtitles)
USA: 121 mins
UK: 120 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language
USA Release Date: 19 January 2005 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 6 May 2005
Originally screened in the Directors Fortnight at Cannes 2004, Andres Wood's highly accomplished and moving MACHUCA has picked up steam throughout the year. It won prizes for Best Film at the Film Festivals of Bógota, Vina del Mar and Valdivia and picked up Audience Awards at the Festivals of Vancouver and the Latin American Film Festival in Lima, Peru. Being the first film which has tried to convey the lived experience of the loss of democracy and overthrow of Salvador Allende and the rise to power of Augusto Pinochet, MACHUCA caused an earthquake of emotions in Chile, were it has been the most successful Chilean film ever.
The film is a moving and intimate account of a friendship between two young boys from opposite worlds in Santiago, on the eve of the military coup in Chile in 1973. The events are seen through the eyes of the shy, privileged kid Gonzalo, who meets the poor but streetwise Pedro Machuca when the liberal principal of Gonzalo's school, Father McEnroe, opens the school to children from the shantytown just a few blocks way. Feeling alone within his own family, Gonzalo is drawn to the warmth of Pedro's and develops a crush on Silvana, Pedro's older cousin. Gonzalo is torn between two sides when the political situation escalates. With the fall of the socialist government, his friendship with Pedro and Silvana is doomed.
Inspired by Wood's own childhood memories of a progressive American headmaster and co-scripted by Roberto Brodsky and UK producer Mamoun Hassan, MACHUCA is an engaging and provoking statement about social differences in Chile, where the gap has only widened since Pinochet's coup.
The film is artfully crafted, with a vivid evocation of the period in both design and hue. But the film really stands out in the strong performances from the young actors, who portray the story of their character's friendship in a very tender and extremely moving way.
"It seemed to me that it was absolutely essential to make this film... because no one had examined the loss of democracy in Chile from this perspective before. Here, it is the children who look at the world, without judging what they see. They witness the events that took place. And in that sense, the narration is not based on political or even social affiliations. They are all human beings, with their strengths and weaknesses". Andres Wood
Andres Wood was born in Chile in 1965 and studied economics at the Católica University of Chile before relocating to New York to take a film course. Upon his return to Chile, he made his award-winning debut feature, HISTORIAS DE FÚTBOL (1997) Next Wood directed the TV series EL DESQUITE (REVENGE, 1999) and LA FIEBRE DEL LOCO (2001), which won him the Best Director Prize at the Lleida Latin American Film Festival. MACHUCA is his third feature.