Paula Rodríguez

2002 82 min.

Original Version in Spanish

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Technical specs

    • Director: Paula Rodríguez
    • Production: DFFB and MA.JA.DE. Filmproduktion
    • Coproduction: SWR, ARTE TV
    • With the support from Filmförderung Berlin Brandenburg  y Kuratorium Junger Deutscher Film
    • Original Music: Coti K. y  Arturo Iturbe
    • Suitable for all audiences



The film  Pinochets Children documents the testimony of three representatives of the generation that grew up during the dictatorship of Pinochet, the generation to which I also belong. It comprises the period of time beginning with the military coup of 1973, when Pinochet appeared in the life of the Chileans, until his arrest and trial.

Carolina, Enrique  and Alejandro were still children when Pinochet violently grabbed power in 1973. They all had to suffer from violence under the dictatorship. The fathers of two of them were assassinated, one had to flee into exile. They remember the pain and the fear they experienced as children during the first years of military rule.

In their adolescent years they began to revolt against the regime. All three became distinguished student leaders directing the social movement of the chilean youth against the dictator. In the film, they reflect on the causes that led them to rebellion, their motivations, the need to open a space free of the limitations set by the authoritarian regime. Finally, they talk about the aims in life they developed after the collapse of the Pinochet-regime.

At the end of dictatorship, when the period of transition towards democracy began, the protagonists turned into adults. They remember their dissappointment when they realized that   what they had fought for during the years of dictatorship – truth and justice –  became subject to negotiations. They also had to face the fact that there was no easy way to insert their idea of a free and self-determined life into the emerging socio-cultural context which was totally dominated by neoliberal ideology. The three became gradually marginalized, partly on their own account, from political life. Enrique became a businessman, Carolina left the country in order to study in Europe and Alejandro dedicated himself to culture as a plawright and theater director.

Finally, they analyze the meaning and consequences which the detention and judgement of Pinochet had for them and for Chile. Through the difficulties they face in their day-to day lifes, the protagonists  show us how life in Chile has changed in some areas  after the arrest of the dictator, but has remained unchanged in others. While a certain opening towards justice has taken place, there is much to be done in terms of a real democratisation in a country which is still deeply divided. Despite his worldwide condemnation, an important sector of chilean society keeps supporting the ex-dictator.

The film-scenes are produced partly on locations where the historical events took place, and partly in the current natural surroundings of the three protagonists. The film music corresponds to the different periods in the lives of the protagonists. The film is complemented with file material corresponding to the different periods.

About direction (Paula Rodríguez)

The decision to make this film  Pinochets Children was born some time ago. It was triggered by an event that took the entire world by surprise: the arrest of the former chilean dictator Pinochet in London.  I received the news in my Berlin appartment. The phone wouldn't stop ringing that day. Friends from everywhere called in order to share the great joy. On this day a process started in chilean society and in each individual Chilean - a process that continues until today. The new image of the humiliated dictator, condemned by the whole world, brought about a profound process of coming to awareness in chilean society. The people of Chile were forced to take off their mask. They lost the fear of talking about the past and they started to accept the truth about the violation of human rights during the dictatorship. A path towards justice started to open. The democratisation process began to accelerate. I was motivated by these events when I decided to make the film Pinochets Children. It is the story of Carolina, Enrique and Alejandro, three former student leaders of my generation - the generation that grew up under and against the authoritarian rule of Pinochet.  By documenting the personal accounts of the three protagonists the film highlights social developments in my country as seen from the perspective of our generation. The purpose of this documentary film is to widen the public conscience about the developments in chilean history and society by enabling the spectator to discover new correlations that go beyond the information that can be obtained through news coverage in the media. Through the relation of personal history things that happen in distant places may become less strange and exotic and turn into something simply human. The dictatorship of Pinochet in Chile was only one of many  authoritarian regimes in the twentieth century. The so called  Pinochets Children stand in place of all the young people in the world who are forced to grow up under dictatorship. The new political scene that emerged in Chile after the detention of Pinochet is giving rise to much hope but at the same time, there is no doubt that it is still obscured by the shadow of the ex-dictator. Chile continues to be a divided country. Despite his arrest and possible trial, an important and powerful sector of chilean society, most notably a large majority of the entrepreneurs, still defends Pinochets legacy. This political scenario, where the dark forces of the past are confronting the new hopes for justice and democracy is the stage on which Alejandro, Carolina and Enrique, the three protagonists of the film, act.