The Battle of Chile, Part 1: The Insurrection of the Bourgeois

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Why it’s worth your time:

At the time of writing, Chile’s student protests continue unabated, the worst they’ve had in four decades. This three-part documentary chronicles the last time major protests rocked the capital. Part 1, “The Insurrection of the Bourgeois” shows the upper-middle class’ fear that the democratically-elected president, Salvador Allende, would bring socialism to Chile.

The takeaway:

With the help of the US, the upper-middle class staged a coup, toppling the democratically-elected president, and ushering in nearly twenty years of dictatorship, state-sponsored disappearances, and torture. In the violent revolt that followed the coup, 12,000 people—among them Americans abandoned by their own government—were detained and tortured.

Watch it with:

The history buffs, the activists, and anyone looking to improve their Spanish. The contemporary footage is in Chilean Spanish, though the streaming link below offers English subtitles.

Worth noting:

In filming one of the protests leading up to the coup, one of the film’s cameramen filmed his own death. A soldier fired a kill shot to stop his filming. Once he’d felled the cameraman, the soldier destroyed the camera—but accidentally left the film behind, intact. That six minutes of footage and another twenty hours of film were hidden at the Swedish Embassy and eventually smuggled out of Chile to Cuba and France, where the film was assembled and premiered. Strictly censored under General Augusto Pinochet’s U.S.-backed dictatorship, the film remains more famous outside Chile than within, 28 years after its democratization.

Where to watch it:

Available for free on YouTube.

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