Set in a politically tumultuous '70s Chile, just before Augustus Pinochet snatched power, Machuca tells of the unlikely friendship between two 11-year-old boys, one rich and spoilt (Matías Quer), the other poor and starving (Ariel Mateluna). They bond while competing for the affection of a spunky shanty girl, but the coming coup will shake their lives. Andrés Wood's movie is powerful and sweetly funny, but does presuppose a sound knowledge of Chilean politics. Even if you think Pinochet is something you uncork, the picture still works at a human level, but it's not nearly as affecting.
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