• Post category:Movies
  • Post last modified:September 15, 2023

El Conde


Jaime Vadell. Photo: Netflix

Director Pablo Larraín has made several screen biographies before, but this one chooses a different path, and as a Chilean it is obviously a personal attempt to drive a stake through the heart of the man who did such damage to his nation. In this film, Larraín envisions Pinochet as a vampire, bitten sometime in the 1700s, witnessing the execution of Marie Antoinette and finally finding his place as the dictator of Chile, where he’s free to kill and loot as he wishes. A bitterly funny and clever satire, handsomely and darkly photographed; loses some of its hold halfway through, but saves a juicy Thatcher twist for last. 

2023-Chile. 110 min. Color-B/W. Produced by Rocío Jadue, Juan de Dios Larraín. Directed by Pablo Larraín. Screenplay: Guillermo Calderón, Pablo Larraín. Cinematography: Edward Lachman. Cast: Jaime Vadell (Augusto Pinochet), Alfredo Castro (Fyodor Krassnoff), Gloria Münchmeyer (Lucía Hiriart), Stella Gonet (Margaret Thatcher), Paula Luchsinger, Diego Muñoz. 

Venice: Best Screenplay. 

Last word: “The chain of thought involved the fact that Pinochet died in complete freedom — and with the most vile and absurd impunity. And that impunity made him eternal in a way — we still feel broken by his figure, because he’s not really dead in our culture. In Argentina, for example — and Santiago Mitre made a beautiful film about this last year, Argentina, 1985 — they took those criminals and put them in jail. That somehow created a national pact that this should never happen again. We never had that in Chile, so his figure remained very vivid and alive. So, that idea took us to the figure of the vampire and that satire was the only way to approach him.” (Larraín, The Hollywood Reporter)

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