Poster for Machuca

Spring 2006 Main series

Sunday, April 23, 2006 at 4:00pm
Sunday, April 23, 2006 at 7:00pm
Monday, April 24, 2006 at 7:00pm

Acadia Cinema's Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main Street, Wolfville, NS

Directed by


Rated NR · 2h 1m

Set in autumn of 1973, amidst the backdrop of chaotic political upheaval, the Chilean film Machucha grounds a heartwrenching coming-of-age tale in a traumatic socio-historical moment. Directed by Andres Wood, a Chilean-born, NYU-schooled filmmaker of astonishing talent, the film unfolds through the eyes of Gonzalo, a quiet 12-year-old boy from an upscale Santiago suburb. With his freckled cheeks and bowl haircut, Gonzalo resembles Bud Cort in Harold and Maude, awkward and wise beyond his years. When the idealistic headmaster of his private boys school, Father McEnroe, accepts a few poor children on scholarship, Gonzalo finds himself drawn to Machuca, an intense yet warm boy from the slums of the city. After accompanying Machuca and his uncle to sell paraphernalia at two political rallies, one advocating the socialist government of Salvador Allende and the other calling for its overthrow, Gonzalo becomes a fixture in Machuca’s life. In a memorable scene involving condensed milk, the two boys even share their first messy kiss with the same girl, a hardened yet spirited neighbor of Machuca.

Amidst the blossoming of a life-altering friendship are constant hints of the political turmoil and class polarization that are disrupting the boys’ country. When President Allende is eventually overthrown in a violent military coup, the youths must face the irreparable divide of their divergent socioeconomic positions. Richly written and performed as a textured relationship with elements of homoeroticism, the sentiments of friendship, love, and growing up are universal, yet they are certainly not timeless. Here, at least, they cannot transcend the conditions that surround them.