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Document Creation Date: 
December 16, 2016
Document Release Date: 
October 27, 2004
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Publication Date: 
October 24, 1973
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PDF icon CIA-RDP88-01365R000300020003-2.pdf128.26 KB
NATIONAL GUARDIAN 1J i ?1 ,b ~.12t J_ R w t` tJ oved For Release 2005/113 CCI~9RD'P88-01365F9DOd2QDQ3 14.q c e,2 (Wiff"r 1s 7-C 6(- ho,,,,-) Fins On C' Me record s ~g g! before the coup TWO FILMS ON CHILE, "Que itacer" ("What Is To Ile Done?") directed by Saul Landau, Nina Serrano, Raul Ruiz; "Allende," an Interview with the late President. Produced and directed by Saul Landau and ifm;kell Wexler. Impact Films (114 BleeckerSt., NYC). It is this focus on the political and emotional ambivalences of the young Peace Corps woman that makes of "Que Ilacer," despite its apparent anti-imperialism, a cultural artifact that exploits rather than aids the Chilean people's struggle. In addition, its political stance is so muddled that it provides neither enlightenment nor emotional reinforcement of revolutionary convictions. A 30-minute filmed interview with Allende by Landau and, Haskell Wexler ("Medium Cool") offers a painful ex post facto self- commentary on the political illusions of Chile's first "Marxist" regime. Describing himself as a "socialist parliamentarian," Allende's theme in this interview, over and over again, is his devotion to the law, to legal remedies, to "the highest possible constitutional procedures." Considering that he was the precarious president of his country at the time the interview was made, we hardly expect him to speak much differently. But the inescapable feeling is transmitted that Allende's commitment to a con- stitutional road to socialism was much-more than tactical of the moment. His was a developed political view-shared, obviously, by his allies of the Chilean Communist Party-that Chile, somehow was "different," that it could proceed towards a socialist society within the framework of bourgeois legality. The revisionists would have it that the "socialist camp" has grown so strong in the world that countries such as Chile (in fact any bourgeois democratic country, not excluding the United States) can now pursue the path of peaceful transition. Challenged, they accuse their Marxist-Leninist opponents of war-mongering, adventurism and advocating violence for its own sake. But the necessity for smashing the old bourgeois state apparatus if the working class is to seize and hold power is hardly a new idea in the revolutionary movement. It was the great lesson that Marxists drew from the failure of the Paris Commune and has been a cor- nerstone of Leninist revolutionary strategy ever since. Tragically, the advocates of "Chilean exceptionalism" have paid with their lives for their failure to comprehend this fundamental axiom.of revolutionary strategy. At the same time, it is clear that Allende represented the genuine aspirations of Chile's workers and peasants. Support for the Allende government was the only principled path for revolutionaries both within and outside Chile to take during the three years of the democratic regime. The Landau-Wexler interview with Allende is as instructive a piece of political conversation on film as we are ever likely to en- counter. Allende himself emerges as a warmly sympathetic human being, a man who undoubtedly tried to serve his people with great courage and dignity. If at times he seems a trifle vainglorious or unduly Saul Landau's two films about Chile were, of course; made before the military coup. But they were first shown to an American audience while the news of the fascist take-over and Allende's.,. murder were still fresh in everyone's mind. The tragic difference between the political climate in which these -films were produced and the reality of the events that transpired since is, therefore, their most fascinating, albeit unintentiopal, aspect. The major effort is "Que Ilacer," a full-length feature that combines llollywood-style fiction, newsreel clips and documen- tary-style interviews and camera-work to describe Chile. in the several weeks leading up to the election of Salvador Allende in 1990. Apparently aware that any North American culturallnterVetltion in Chile, no matter how sympathetic, is bound to have overtones of Yankee imperialism, Landau has also introduced several anti- cinematic devices designed to be wary of this inevitable form of neo-colonialism. The most interesting of these is a series of interviews with a youthful militant of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) who comments on various scenes in the film. In two instance. at .least, he accusses the film of political incompetence-in an at- tempted fantasy kidnapping of a fictional CIA agent and in a contrived confrontation between a Communist deputy and, his "radical" son who has become a member of a terrorist band. It is a criticism that might well have been extended to other aspects of this film that has.borrowed its title, but little else from Lenin. Also on hand to help separate fantasy from reality is Country Joe MacDonald who pops up from time to time, guitar in hand, to remind its that no matter what illusion the screen portrays, the reality is that it's still one more movie made by North Americans. "Making a movie in Chile, having a wonderful time," sings Mac- donald early in the film. It's a bitter comment but it does not seem to have dissauded Landau or his associates from proceeding anyway. Perhaps they felt that by trumpeting their inevitable complicity, they would somehow be absolved of its political con- sequences. The film's purpose-to the extent that one can use such a specific word for what seems, at best, an ambivalent focus-would seem to he an exploration of different trends on the Chilean left at the time of the elections. Center stage is Allende and (lie Popular Unity coalition, represented primarily. by the aforementioned Coni- tnunist deputy who faithfully?deli%ers his party's lin'. on "peaceful transition" to socialism. Contrasted against this are a radical priest, an infantile terrorist group and the MIR. Playing an em- barrassingly contrived counter-point are a business-like ('IA agent and an idealistic young woman in the Peace Corps who, in the ro brief rocess of disengaging herself from the Corps; manages a p p affair with (he ('I, ~~A-F b S -01365R000300020003-2 terrorist band.- prideful in his place in the Chilean legislative spectrum, we can forgive him such minor frailties in view of his obvious willingness to give his life for what he conceived to he the best interests of the