Classic Chilean films

The most outstanding works of the local film industry – many of which have received international recognition – planted the seeds for Chile’s thriving movie scene today. We pick out some highlights.


Largo viaje (Long Journey) by Patricio Kaulen (1967): a boy travels around Santiago searching for wings to attach to a dead boy in his funeral and help him become an angel.

Tres Tristes Tigres (Tree Sad Tigers) by Raúl Ruiz (1968): based on the play by Alejandro Sieveking.  This was Ruiz’s first film before becoming internationally recognized and famous.  The film deals with the marginalization of alcoholics.

Valparaíso Mi Amor (Valparaíso, My Love) by Aldo Francia (1969): Shows poverty through the story of a father jailed for stealing for his children, and how this affects his children’s destiny.

El Chacal de Nahueltoro (Nahueltoro’s Jackal) by Miguel Littin (1970): Based on a true story about an illiterate peasant who murders his wife and daughters. He is put in jail for his crime and sentenced to death, but while in prison he learns to read and write.

Julio comienza en Julio (July Starts In July) by Silvio Caiozzi (1979): A father throws a party for his son’s fifteenth birthday where he receives his sexual initiation from a prostitute, with whom he falls in love.

La Frontera (The Border) by Ricardo Larraín (1991): A math teacher is exiled to the south of Chile during the military dictatorship.  The community, a small fishing village, welcomes the teacher and assimilates him into their community.  He works alongside them and falls in love with the library.

El Chacotero Sentimental (The Sentimental Teaser) by Cristián Galaz (1999): A poignant example of Chile’s transition to democracy.  Rumpy, an assertive young radio talk show host, encourages the public to call into the show and share their personal and sexual secrets anonymously.  It became the most viewed movie in the history of Chilean film.

Taxi Para Tres (Taxi for Three) by Orlando Lübbert (2001): An indebted taxi driver decides to kidnap two troublemakers in a marginal neighborhood in Santiago.  The film makes colorful use of the Chilean dialect.

Mi Mejor Enemigo (My Best Enemy) by Alex Bowen (2004): Two army units, one from Argentina, the other from Chile, begin to fraternize while on duty in Patagonia, in the midst of high political tension between the two countries in 1978.

In Machuca by Andrés Wood (2004), a poor boy enrolls in an elite private school.  The film portrays the interclass tensions and conflicts during the Allende government.