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film review

This haunting Chilean documentary is more poetry than journalism as filmmaker Patricio Guzman compares the fate of the indigenous people of Patagonia with that of the disappeared of the Pinochet regime. His link is water: Before they succumbed to colonial genocide, the Patagonians were canoeists and fishers; the victims of Augusto Pinochet were thrown into the sea from helicopters so that their bodies would never be found. Guzman hints there is some fatal flaw in European Chile's inability to understand itself as a maritime nation despite its great coastline. The film is filled with breathtaking footage of the water, ice and islands of Patagonia, but in one remarkable scene Guzman asks an artist to create a giant map, a room-sized paper cutout of Chile, because he has never actually seen his country in one piece: There is no room for a land this long on the classroom wall. Kate Taylor

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