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The Battle Of Chile

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Description

On September 11, 1973, President Salvador Allende's democratically elected Chilean government was overthrown in a bloody coup by General Augusto Pinochet's army.

Patricio Guzmán and five colleagues had been filming the political developments in Chile throughout the nine months leading up to that day. The bombing of the Presidential Palace, in which Allende died, would now become the ending for Guzmán's seminal documentary The Battle of Chile (1975-76), an epic chronicle of that country's open and peaceful socialist revolution, and of the violent counter-revolution against it.

This 4-disc set includes:
- The Battle of Chile - Part One: The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie
- The Battle of Chile - Part Two: The Coup d'Etat
- The Battle of Chile - Part Three: The Power of the People
- Chile,Obstinate Memory, documentary by Patricio Guzman
- A 22 minute filmed interview with Patricio Guzman
- A booklet with texts and reviews, including Pauline Kael's from The New Yorker


Not only the best film about Allende and the coup d'etat, but among the best documentary films ever made, changing our concepts of political documentary within a framework accessible to the widest audience. --Time Out Film Guide

Great films rarely arrive as unheralded as The Battle of Chile. --Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

An exultant depiction of people becoming politicized and taking charge of their own destinies, responding ingeniously to further acts of oppression and attempting to reorganize every aspect of their lives along communal lines. --The Los Angeles Times

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Augusto Pinochet, Salvador Allende
  • Directors: Patricio Guzman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Icarus Films
  • DVD Release Date: December 8, 2009
  • Run Time: 262 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,035 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Battle Of Chile" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

After years of waiting, Patricio Guzman's epic documentary "The Battle Of Chile" finally makes its DVD debut. This is a rich, astounding chronicle of the Chilean Revolution under Salvador Allende, the cultural battles which sprouted as a result and how it all came to a tragic end in a CIA-sponsored military coup. This is not just a simple documentary on a historical event however, this is a powerful, visually stunning work with a scope that ranks it alongside political films like "The Battle Of Algiers," "Salvador" and "Z." Guzman here doesn't just give us a great chronicle, but great cinema.

"The Battle Of Chile" begins midway through the administration of Allende, who made history by becoming the world's first elected Marxist president. Guzman and his crew introduce us to Allende's Chile just as the population prepares to vote in a crucial parliamentary election. Allende is determined to show the world that a socialist transformation can be carried out through democratic, peaceful means and so his project is hampered by a system ruled by an old oligarchy and corporate elites. Guzman and his editors do a great job balancing intimate portraits of Chilean citizens and their concerns, hopes and dreams along with sharp reporting on political developments as right-wing members of congress work hard to derail all of Allende's progressive reforms. The opening of "Part 1" is fascinating as Guzman walks around the capital of Santiago interviewing average citizens and asking who they will vote for and why. He shows us both sides of the debate as working class Chileans express their support for Allende and his social reforms and upper class Chileans spew venomous hatred for the government.
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When the socialist Salvador Allende was elected President of Chile, a country with a long tradition of free elections, the reactionary elements used a variety of tactics to ruin the country's economy, including closing factories and hoarding food. The workers, who elected Allende, showed up for work and began to manage the factories and distribute food. In the meantime, the Chilean armed forces, under the tutelage of the United States military under Richard Nixon, planned a coup to remove Allende.
On September 11, 1973, the Chilean air force bombed the national palace and the army fired on it, completely destroying the building and killing Allende.
This thorough documentary by Patricio Guzman, banned in Chile until 1997, tells this story and the aftermath, when Augusto Pinochet, the military dictator, began herding up suspected leftists, killed them and buried them in unmarked graves. They were known as "the disappeared".
Why were Fidel, Che and the Sandinistas right? Because they all believed that the US would never permit a socialist elected in a free election to hold power.
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Objective coverage of period of drastic political change. Three films made over a period of five years (1975-79) based on footage shot during 1970-73. Gives the viewer a real sense of "being there."
In the late 1960's and early 1970's there were arguments that if people want to effect change, they should "use the system" or "work within the system" rather than trying to overthrow "the system." The Allende regime was a test case of trying to build a socialist society using the machinery of parliamentary democracy. Up to that time, Chile had a democratic government for over a century with only one two-year period of military rule. As the working class began to implement change, with increased electoral success, the wealthy engineered a coup, resulting in fifteen years of tyranny, torture, murder, concentration camps.
This is an important document for students of political science and for others with an interest in the debate over how social change can be effected. Although Guzman's sympathies were with the Allendists, his film presents facts and events and typical incidents which allow the viewer to come to her own conclusions about what mistakes were made by the people involved.
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This 4-disc box set contains the three separate parts of the original feature film made in the immediate years after the events of 1973, and released at different times rather than together, each part to a disc (they are quite lengthy) plus a 4th disc made from footage shot in 1996 when the surviving filmmakers went back to Chile to update what happened after the coup d'etat of 1973 and how events were viewed then, both by some of those who were around at the time and interestingly by some high school-girls who were born 6-7 years afterwards. Even 23 years after 1973, the filmmakers had to be surrepticious in filming in some places, such as the Presidential Palace.

Director Patricio Guzmán is clearly sympathetic to the cause of the Popular Unity (the left wing alliance 1970-1973) and bias in material presented show, but this is understandable given the nature of the Pinochet junta and its human rights abuses. From a centrist viewpoint, however, there are some things that should be pointed out - Salvador Allende received only 37% of the vote in September 1970, so the claim that he was 'democratically' elected is quite tenuous - constitutionally, sure. This point is downplayed. The negative consequences of his economic policies (without consideration of the US sanctions) such as 140% inflation in 1972 and a huge deterioration in the country's trade balance, get ignored. Allende didn't just nationalize the land holdings of big agriculturalists, all farms above a mere 80 hectares or 200 acres were nationalized. Experience in countries such as Russia, Ukraine and most recently Zimbabwe show that this is disastrous.
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