Screened as part of NZIFF 2005

Machuca 2004

Directed by Andrés Wood

"Machuca... is both sweet and stringent, attuned to the wonders of childhood as well as its cruelty and terror." — A.O. Scott, NY Times

Chile / France / Spain / UK In Spanish with English subtitles
115 minutes 35mm



Roberto Brodsky
Mamoun Hassan
Andrés Wood


Miguel J. Littin


Fernando Pardo


Miguel Angel Miranda
José Miguel Tobar


Matías Quer
Ariel Mateluna
Manuela Martelli


Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight), Vancouver, 2004


Most Popular Film, Vancouver 2004


Celebrating the friendship between two boys from the opposite sides of the tracks, Machuca serves as a heartfelt personal memoir of the social ideals of Allende’s Chile. Eleven-year-old Gonzalo is the pale, physically timid, only child of an inattentive businessman and a philandering mother. They barely notice his friendship with Pedro Machuca, the diffident beneficiary of a socialist priest’s programme to integrate slum kids into their middle class English-style school. The scruffy scrambler from shantytown and the watchful little rich boy make an unlikely but complementary pair. Both are enthralled by Silvana, Machuca’s politicised older cousin whose frankness about her sexual appetites is in marked contrast to the surreptitious goings-on Gonzalo has spotted closer to home. The odds are as stacked against this friendship as they were against social democracy in Chile in 1973. Though director Andrés Wood surrounds the boys with evidence of gathering middle-class determination to keep the underclass at bay, the coup, when it hits, is as devastating in its suddenness as in its inexorability. With its depiction of the ‘concerned parent’ who fears their child may be ‘held back’ by sharing classrooms or teachers with riff raff, the stirring lament for Allende is not without contemporary resonance. — BG