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Helvio Soto's dramatic re-creation of the military overthrow of Chile's freely elected leftist government in 1973 is a cousin to Alain Resnais's La Guerre Est Finie, Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers, and Costa-Gavras's Z and Missing; it's an unapologetically angry piece of political cinema decrying the brutal suppression of human freedom. Beginning with Allende's 1970 election, Soto painstakingly documents the conspiracy to end Chile's social reforms with a military coup headed by General Augusto Pinochet. It's hardly subtle: The pure-of-heart Marxist activists, idealistic students, and salt-of-earth working-class peasants heroically stand up to a conspiracy of corrupt businessmen, fascist military officers, and the American CIA in a fight that, we know from history, dooms them to martyrdom. Soto's tangled narrative timeline jumps back and forth without warning, a confusing design to say the least, and his portraits of the heroes and villains are little better than agitprop. Then again, this is less a history lesson than a political statement, and he pulls no punches in his damning accusations, from the greed of multinationals and American interests to the vicious executions of leftists, intellectuals, and artists in the wake of the coup. It's a gripping true story that will have most viewers just as angry by the final frames. As the ailing Pinochet tries to sidestep responsibility of human-rights violations under his rule, the film couldn't be more timely. The title, by the way, is a code used by the leftist defenders.

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ID9081SI It's Raining on Santiago VHS (1974/Jean-Louis Trintignant) $99.99