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On December 10, 2006, General Pinochet died in Santiago’s Military Hospital. For 24 hours, his death reawakened the political divisions that marked Chile’s recent history with dictatorship, death and violence. In The Death of Pinochet, Bettina Perut and Ivan Osnovikoff use original footage and the testimonies of four characters who lived through that day, to relate the end of a key chapter in Chile’s history. A work that balances tragedy and comedy, it is a surprising portrait of Chilean society.
In observing and giving voice to a group of Chilean people on a very special day in that country’s history, Perut and Osnovikoff show the same provocative spirit that they demonstrated in their previous film Noticias (News). By the time of his death, Pinochet had not held power in Chile for several years. However, this fascinating documentary shows that although Pinochet may now be gone, he has certainly not been forgotten. The Death of Pinochet is yet another example of this filmmaker duo’s ability to handle reality and show it in the rawest way.
“Fun, provocative and over the top, the film explores in an intimate and raw way a side of Chilean history rarely shown on film.” – The Film Society of Lincoln Center
“In (The Death of Pinochet…) politics highlights the contrasts between documentary and fiction, between staging and spontaneous record, between life and death, between individual and crowd.” - Beatriz Urraca, Cine Documental
“The directors make visually literalist the notion of vox pops, creating a simple, blunt poetry of revelatory visual details.” - Michael Vazquez, Huffington Post
“The film narrates the ending of a key chapter in Chilean history in an innovative, exciting way.” – Warsaw International Film Festival
“The documentary did capture the explosive energy in the streets following his death (Pinochet´s)” – Melissa Silvestri, Cinespect
“The documentary follows the characters in an intelligent and fluid way. It lets them be and does not judge… The Death of Pinochet is a great documentary. Original, very well done and unprejudiced, allowing the luxury of both humor and the ridiculous, even with such a shocking and complex topic.” – Florencia E. González, Leedor
“The Death of Pinochet is definitely a unique and disturbing documentary, a grotesque world that can only be obtained through keen observation and a desire to marvel at the reality, without prejudice or preconceived speeches.” – La Segunda
“Osnovikoff and Perut operate from an insolent, transgressive spirit to create a film that makes no concessions for viewers or strong formal experimentation. They use several styles of documentation without allowing themselves to get boxed in. showing that this is a genre that is constantly searching, a work in motion….The Death of Pinochet is an exploration into the alienation triggered by a historical event in a shaken city. There are mad impulses to the failure of memory that expresses itself in the strength of the language of the film makers. They use a visual language that renews the critical perspective and leaves a precedent in documentary film making, a genre that is on the rise in Chile.”- Susana Díaz Berrios, Corte Irracional
“Osnovikoff Perut and plunge us into an irreconcilably split Chile, with the intention of provoking argument over the notions of homeland, dictatorship and democracy. As some of those interviewed say, “Augusto continues to live,” a benchmark of patriotism for some, a genocidal butcher for others.” - Maria Bertoni, Espectadores
Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff met in 1997 and co-directed Chichichi Lelele Martín Vargas de Chile, an observational documentary film about the come-back of a fallen boxing idol and its impact on Chilean society. Between 2000 and 2002 they produced and directed Un Hombre A Parte (A Man Aside), a deep and raw metaphor on the human condition which depicts the decline of Ricardo Liaño and his obsession to become a millionaire in his eighties. Next they directed and produced El Astuto Mono Pinochet contra La Moneda de los Cerdos (Clever Monkey Pinochet Versus La Moneda’s Pigs), a provocative representation of the 1973 Chilean military coup featuring children and young adults reenacting the historical facts. In 2004 Perut and Osnovikoff moved to the United States for the making of Welcome to New York (2006), an inverted ethnography in which the directors show their irreverent and sarcastic vision of the Capital of the World. In 2006 they went back to Chile and began the production of Noticias (News), an observational film presenting a radical cinematic view of the same reality depicted by the media. Afterwards, the directors made La Muerte de Pinochet (The Death of Pinochet), a sarcastic chronicle of the death and funeral of the former Chilean dictator. Bettina Perut was born in Rome, Italy, in 1970. Iván Osnovikoff was born in Puerto Montt, Chile, in 1966. They are now producing a new film called Surire. They have been the recipients of awards and retrospectives around the world.
The footage for this film was shot during the production of our last work, Noticias (News). When the first anniversary of Pinochet’s death was celebrated in 2007, we were very surprised upon verifying that no professional documentary film on the topic was being produced in Chile. Considering this fact and how necessary a film work narrating this historic event will be in the future, we made the decision to carry ahead with the project.
Cine B Film Festival, Chile
Jury Special Award
The Film Society of Lincoln Center Latin Beat Film Festival
Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival BAFICI
Sao Paulo International Film Festival, Brazil
Gijón International Film Festival, Spain
La Habana Film Festival
Warsaw International Film Festival, Poland
Madrid Documentary Festival Documenta Madrid
La Pintana Festival de Cine Social y Antisocial, Chile
Escenarios 2011, México
Valdivia Film Festival, Chile
Festival de Cine Independiente de La Plata
Festival de Cine Chileno de Quilpué
Lens Politca Film Festival, Finland
Festival de Cine Viña del Mar