Film

Chile’s Post Mortem released in U.S. to critical acclaim

The third feature-length movie by local director Pablo Larraín continues a golden period for Chilean cinema.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 Category: Daily life - Film - World Reviews on Chile
The two protagonists from the acclaimed Chilean film, Post Mortem. (Photo courtesy of Post Mortem/Fa The two protagonists from the acclaimed Chilean film, Post Mortem. (Photo courtesy of Post Mortem/Facebook)

It’s not an easy watch, but it’s an important film from any political perspective. So far, a week after its U.S. release, Post Mortem is generating overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics in that country.


Chilean director Pablo Larraín describes the film as “set in one of Chile's darkest and bloodiest periods,” during the first days of Chile’s military dictatorship, and yet focused on an “apparently insignificant and charmless couple.”


The discrepancy between the film’s characters and the “sweep and energy” of its historic setting, writes A. O. Scott of the New York Times, highlights the “muffled psychological effects and unacknowledged emotional implications,” of the dictatorship and creates a “grim, intense, mordantly comic little film.”  


Indeed, one of the early themes among U.S. reviews is an appreciation for its dark, offbeat humor.


“Thankfully, the overall depressing tone is offset by its incredibly strange sense of humor, which focuses on awkward visual moments and dialogue,” writes Christopher Bell of Indiewire.


Michael Tully of Filmmaker Magazine, takes it one step further writing: “There is such a thing as pitch black comedy, and then there is the work of Chilean director Pablo Larraín, whose warped sense of humor deserves its own adjective. Tar black, maybe?”


NPR also gives the film the thumbs up, as does Peter Bradshaw from U.K. publication The Guardian, who gives it four stars.


“With its pale, washed-out colour palette, its eerily slow, almost somnambulist pacing and occasionally bizarre emotional demonstrations, Post Mortem is strangely gripping,” writes Bradshaw.


The positive reception of the “Post Mortem” in the United States will have many in Chile hoping to see a repeat of 2011, a year that is widely regarded as being the most successful in the history of Chilean cinema, after the country took Latin American film festivals by storm and won the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, among other successes.