Directed by Pablo Larrain
Cornerhouse, 2 October 2011
What strikes one immediately about this film is the way in which the personal and the political become all entangled.
Set in Chile’s recent past, the main character is Mario (Alfredo Castro), aide to a pathologist. His life is subdued and stable with nothing much on the boil, though maybe he’s got his eye set on a woman who’s a little out of his league.
Then the Chilean military quell political unrest and the body count begins to rise. At the morgue, Mario is swamped by dead bodies and there is no course of action open to him that is both intelligent and ethical.
It is a curious film, since its subject is atrocity yet its approach lies through a kind of deadpan comedy and a banal artifice, albeit one that’s highly emotionally charged. Only some hours after the film does its full impact hit home.
A very impressive achievement, a film you really need to watch more than once.