Removing the Stains of Dictatorship: Memory and Progress in Modern Chilean Cinema

Faculty Sponsor

Peter Lutze


Arts and Sciences


Spanish and German

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-2-2015


Chilean film production is intertwined with the events throughout the history of the country. The amount and types of films produced at different periods in Chilean history reflect social and political changes as well as the level of government support for the film industry. A period of oppressive censorship occurred from 1973 until 1990, during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Under this regime, many political dissidents fled the country, lost their lives, or simply "were disappeared." Chilean films since 1990 have addressed the traumatic themes of the dictatorship both directly and indirectly. Modern Chilean cinema can be seen as Chile’s journey to restore lost collective memory and find a national identity to project to the world through its films. The films in this project, all set in urban areas, explore their protagonists' search for identity and their relationship with their surroundings and society. A frequent theme in Chilean films since the end of the Pinochet regime is the loss of identity at the individual city and national levels. Viewers all over the world can be drawn into Chilean films by the relatable characters and learn about Chilean history and life in the process. Chilean film viewers both in Chile and all over the world have a chance, through films, to discover pieces of history that were censored in the past and reach towards a recovered collective memory and new national identity.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Hannah Heagy is a senior German and Spanish double major and a humanities minor. She is a member of Christ College. Her interest in Chilean culture began in the summer of 2012 when she served as an intern with the YMCA in Valparaíso, Chile. Hannah spent her junior year studying in Tübingen, Germany and plans to pursue a career in teaching world languages.

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