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With: n/a
Written by: Patricio Guzmán
Directed by: Patricio Guzmán
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language: Spanish, with English subtitles
Running Time: 110
Date: 05/16/2001

The Pinochet Case (2002)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Politics As Usual

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The third part of a trilogy, The Pinochet Case attempts to follow the process of arresting and trying Augusto Pinochet, the president (dictator) of Chile for more than two decdes. In 1998, Pinochet was nabbed while vacationing in London, but his governmental immunity kept getting in the way. Guzmán interviews several survivors who were tortured in Chile under Pinochet's rule and several more lawyers involved with the case. Yet for some reason, he can't seem to get anywhere near the story's center.

Pinochet himself maintained that he didn't know anything about torture, and he still has his adamant supporters, which director Patricio Guzmán shows but doesn't question. Why do people still like him? What caused him to torture people? We never find out.

Indeed, Guzmán seems more interested in blatantly burning film with several long mosaics of people's blank faces -- faces of victims, family members, passersby, anyone he can get to stand still long enough. He also fills time with shots of a cleaning lady dusting the House of Lords and of rocks sliding down a dusty hillside.

Watching The Pinochet Case is more like joining a protest than it is discovering any hard facts. It's as if, in a theoretical documentary about the 2000 U.S. election fraud, a filmmaker asked only voters about the events, ignoring politicians and policy makers. It makes for an entertaining film -- the voters are outraged and passionate -- but do they really have any real perspective on what happened?

Best Buy Co, Inc.