Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Battle of Chile - Every Wednesday in February

On September 11, 1973, President Salvador Allende's democratically elected Chilean government was overthrown in a bloody coup led by General Augusto Pinochet. Patricio Guzm√É¡n 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 Guzman'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.

Join us every Wednesday in February at 7pm for a different installment of this ground-breaking documentary.
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The Battle of Chile (part 1): The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie
Wednesday 2/3 at 7pm

The Insurrection of the Bourgeoisie examines the escalation of rightist opposition following the left's unexpected victory in Congressional elections held in March, 1973. Finding that democracy would not stop Allende's socialist policies, the right-wing shifted its tactics from the polls to the streets. The film follows months of activity as a variety of increasingly violent tactics are used by the right to weaken the government and provoke a crisis.

The Battle of Chile (part 2): The Coup d'Etat
Wednesday 2/10 at 7pm

The Coup d'Etat opens with the attempted military coup of June, 1973 which is put down by troops loyal to the government. It serves as a useful dry run, however, for the final showdown, that everyone now realizes is coming. The film shows a left divided over strategy, while the right methodically lays the groundwork for the military seizure of power. The film's dramatic concluding sequence documents the coup d'etat, including Allende's last radio messages to the people of Chile, footage of the military assault on the presidential palace, and that evening's televised presentation of the new military junta.


The Battle of Chile (part 3): The Power to the People
Wednesday 2/17 at 7pm

The Power to the People deals with the creation by ordinary workers and peasants of thousands of local groups of "popular power" to distribute food, occupy, guard and run factories and farms, oppose black market profiteering, and link together neighborhood social service organizations. First these local groups of "popular power" acted as a defense against strikes and lock-outs by factory owners, tradesmen and professional bodies opposed to the Allende government, then increasingly as Soviet-type bodies demanding more resolute action by the government against the right.

Chile, Obstinate Memory
Wednesday 2/24 at 7pm

Hearing only the official version, a generation of young Chileans has grown up with little knowledge of the historical facts surrounding the events of September 11, 1973. Patricio Guzman's landmark film The Battle of Chile (1976) documented the "Popular Unity" period of Allende's government, the tumultuous events leading up to the coup, and Allende's death. But the memory of those times and events, captured so powerfully in The Battle of Chile, was largely barred from the collective consciousness of the Chilean people. Now, Guzman has returned to show The Battle of Chile in his homeland for the first time, and to explore the terrain of the confiscated (but maybe reawakening) memories of the Chilean people.

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