Rating: Not rated but could be PG-13 for violence and adult situations
Run Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles
ostracism is the tie that binds in this politically charged drama from
old Gonzalo Infante (Matias Quer) is a poor little rich boy from
The posh St. Patrick’s works both sides of the fence, tutoring the children of the upper crust and providing a democratic atmosphere free from class distinction by offering free education to the local poor boys, ostensibly offering them a brighter future.
Gonzalo and newcomer Pedro Machuca (Ariel Mataluna) are a close fit from the start, bonded by insecurities and indignities suffered at the hands of the school bullies. When Gonzalo gets a peek at Pedro’s low-life existence he is energized and intrigued, rebelling against his comfortable roots and parents who aren’t paying enough attention.
Machuca crams a lot of narrative – perhaps too much -- into its two-hour running time, never straying from the youngsters’ point-of-view but hinting at the ripe mysteries – socialism, class wars, adultery, sexuality – that will intimately mark these young men for life.
Director Andres Wood takes a political hard-line in spite of the emotional overflow, focusing on the doomed nature of Chile’s brief Socialist era and the failed experiment of a left-leaning headmaster with dreams of democratic glory. Dense and well-crafted.