Machuca | Chicago Reader

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A respectable entry in the Bicycle Thief school of art-house cinema, which uses a child's coming of age to explore an era of political and social turmoil. Chubby-cheeked Gonzalo (Matias Quer) attends a private school in Santiago shortly before the 1973 coup against Salvador Allende; the populist headmaster has invited a handful of slum kids to join the student body, and Gonzalo strikes up a friendship with the flinty, vaguely contemptuous Pedro (Ariel Mateluna), who acquaints him with life on the wrong side of the tracks. The playground politics are more convincing than the adult variety, though both are characterized by brutal class divisions. Andres Wood directed this 2004 Chilean feature. In Spanish with subtitles. 121 min.

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