This is the second Chilean film I have come to like after " Mi Mejor inimigo"
The theme is Chilean and Latin American.
It is about the turbulent years of the leftist Allende government which had polarised the society violently.
Machuca is a slum kid , given a scholarship by a "red priest" to join the exclusive private English medium school for the rich class. The naive experiment of the American priest does not work. Machuca influences Gonzalo a boy from a rich family and opens his eyes to the poor who survive on the margins of the society and support the leftist revolution of Allende. Gonazalo is torn at home by his fractured family, in the clashes between the rich kids and poor ones at the school and the confrontation between the revolutionaries and reactionaries in the streets. After the overthrow of Allende, the military takes over even the school and throws out the poor kids.
Most of the things depicted in the film actually took place in real life in Chile and in other countries of military dictatorships such as Argentina. For the Chileans it was a nightmare and an aberration in their history. For the non -Chilean audience it gives a glimpse of the turmoil in the society and how it affected even the children.
The film is entertaining too, with its rich and colorful vocabulary of abusive words used by the kids. I was more used to mexican vocabulary. The Chileans are not far behind. The innocence of the kids, their kissing scenes and the selling of flags to rival processionists have been brought out vividly with an emotional and sensitive touch. The kids are charming and endearing with their acting.
Released in 2004, the film was directed by Andres Wood of Chile.