Machuca - movie review

in #movie2 months ago


The wonderful thing about Machuca is that it sublimated when I thought it was going to be another "Paris". When I thought it was going to become another "Dead Poets Society", it sublimated again.

The movie shows the social and historical features of the whole intelligence before and after junta in a refined way. Basically, it can be divided into three lines:

The first clue shows the social background before the military coup: the economy and politics are in a mess, and the country is in crisis. In the whirlpool of this era, people of different identities are looking for opportunities for their own survival, opportunistic small traders, thick legs. The protagonist's mother, the protagonist's father who runs softly, and the desperate working class.

The second clue reveals the relationship between people in the era of serious social opposition. The relationship between children is simple, because no matter what their origins are, there is always a human side, but unfortunately, the cruelest price of social conflict always has to be paid by those who have the least power to protect themselves. This includes not only Machuca and cousin who are at the bottom of society, but also the hero Infante who is born with a prominent but simple character, and even other children in school.


The third line is the role of the Catholic Church in Chilean society. The priest put the ideal of promoting social reconciliation into practice, and wanted to save the broken country, but the evil of human nature can never be overcome. Parents' meeting after Mass is the climax of this clue. In the temple of Jesus Christ, it is undoubtedly a great irony that people vent their prejudices to their heart's content. It is also a counterattack against the priest's idealism that the children work with their own hands and the pigs in captivity die of illness. However, the director gave the highest regards to the priest, which showed his ideological basis that humanitarianism was higher than political factions.

It must be admitted that social transformation has a price, and it is often a painful price. But because of this, we must carefully consider whether the price is worth it. It is not necessarily spring after authoritarianism, neither after Stalin nor after Mao Zedong. Realizing "liberalism" by "authoritarianism" is probably just like "realizing communism on an empty stomach", and it can't stand the polished cake to fill hunger.

What is worrying is that some so-called "authoritarian liberals" in a certain country take Chile's democratic transformation as a model. To tell the truth, there are quite a few successful examples of democratic transformation by "military dictatorship"+"economic liberalization" in the 20th century. It is needless to say that the situation in South America, such as Spain, Poland, the Czech Republic, and our neighbor, South Korea and Taiwan Province ... seems to really become a model and an only way for pre-modern countries to enter modernity. Is this really the case?


  1. All the successful transition examples mentioned above, without exception, these regimes have neither the strength nor the will to challenge mature democratic countries. Authoritarian politics itself means reducing internal pressure, while the nature of power is constantly expanding. At this time, there must be strong external pressure to ensure its development in the right direction. For South American countries, this power mainly comes from the United States. For details, refer to another Chilean movie "Say No to Dictatorship". For EU countries, whether they are former military dictatorships or former communist countries, the external force of peaceful transformation comes from the soft power of EU, that is, trade temptation and political support.

  2. The positive role of the church. Many people think that this wave of military dictatorship in South America is absolute dictatorship, but it is not. I often tell people that the Catholic Church is the "eternal opposition party" in South America. I think the director of this movie must have a grudge against me on this point. Cardinal Henricks was a fierce critic during Chile's military dictatorship. If this problem is further traced, it can even be said that Europe can become a modern democratic system precisely because of the continuous tension between political power and religious power.

  3. Populism is more closely integrated with right-wing politics. Populist politics is to mobilize the masses, which is traditionally the housekeeping skill of left-wing politics. However, in modern Europe, the rise of left-wing politicians with stronger professional color and weaker ideology, such as Blair, Lunch and Vals, almost occupied the traditional political market of the center right. The new populism has to be revived with the help of xenophobic politics, isolationism and the theory of national superiority. Now talking about military dictatorship and right-wing politics is actually providing ammunition for these more dangerous political forces.

  4. Need an example? Just look at today's Russia. Some economists predicted that Putin's Russia would also follow Chile's path, so it would have a bright future. How about now? Not only is there no human rights, but the economy is also a mess. Let's check the above three criteria: Russia has always ignored the West, the huge armed forces continue to resist external pressure, the United States basically has no right to speak, and Europe only relies on bilateral trade to barely maintain the window of dialogue.

The Orthodox Church has always been a court eagle dog, and there is no tension between the political power and the teaching power. Since Peter the Great, it has been their tradition and cannot be changed at all. Today's populist political forces in Russia have left and right sides, but basically right-wing populism dominates the country. The only universal principle on the left has been abandoned completely, and it has become a national Bolshevik cleanly, which actually formed the situation of "frontier cooperation" in Nazi Germany.


Let's say something interesting. In the intellectual presidential election in 2010, the two camps, Socialist Party and Christian Democratic Party, formed a campaign alliance together. Maybe this is the greatest comfort to machuca, infante and priests.

In my opinion, mankind has never had any historical experience, only historical lessons. What we should do is to try our best to avoid repeating the lessons of history, but as Hegel said, human beings never learn the lessons of history.

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