The Battle of Chile Part I: The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie

. Banned in Chile for twenty-two years, The Battle of Chile is a “spectacular,” “spellbinding,” “overwhelming,” “major political film” about history in the making, told in the present tense. Patricio Guzmán, a young filmmaker who had returned to Chile in 1970 after completing his film studies in Madrid, abandoned his ideas for fiction films, instantly moved by the love story that was unfolding at a national level between Salvador Allende and the Chilean people. Compelled to document the massive and unparalleled mobilization of his people, Guzmán and a minimal crew-Jorge Müller Silva, disappeared by Pinochet's military government, and Bernardo Menz-filmed over nine months, capturing the rising tension and aggression that Allende's Popular Front government was suffering at the hands of conservative sectors of the bourgeoisie, leading up to the September 11, 1973 coup that sent Chile into a seventeen-year military dictatorship.

The footage was smuggled out of Chile and made its way to Sweden, where Guzmán, who had been forced into exile, was waiting for the reels. From there, it went to Havana, where it was edited at Cuba's famous ICAIC (Instituto Cubano de Artes e Industrias Cinematográficos). The Battle of Chile was then screened in festivals and theaters worldwide, revealing the truth of a crucial episode in the history of twentieth-century revolutionary politics.

Patricio Guzmán once said that a country without documentary cinema was like a family with no family album. Not only did Guzmán become, with The Battle of Chile, the vanguard filmmaker of that genre in Chile, but with the twenty some rolls of footage with which he made his monumental, epic documentary about the rise and fall of Salvador Allende, the first democratically elected Marxist president in the world, he gave Chile a photo album for the nation.-Natalia Brizuela

(Note: Guzmán has used his own voice for the narration and edited the text slightly for this digital version of his film, which he considers the only complete version.)

• Coproduced by the Instituto Cubano del Arte y Industria Cinematograficos (ICAIC) and Chris Marker. Photographed by Jorge Müller Silva. (262 mins, In Spanish with English titles, B&W, Digibeta, From Icarus Films)

Special package price for all three films:
BAM/PFA members, UC Berkeley students: $10.50
UC Berkeley faculty and staff, non-UC Berkeley students, Senior citizens, Disabled persons, Youth: $11.50
General admission: $14

1:00 Part I: The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie
(1975, 96 mins)

3:00 Part II: The Coup d'Etat
(1976, 88 mins)

5:30 Part III: The Power of the People
(1978, 78 mins)

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.