Thursday, 8 November 2012

Post Mortem.

On the 11th September 1973 Chile had a coup. The Army had been planning to overthrow President Allende and it was Augusto Pinochet, who was originally a trusted aid of the President, who betrayed him and led the Army in this unprecedented period of violence.

Mario Cornejo (Alfredo Castro) is part of a closed group of workers that form the autopsy team of Doctor Castillo that carries out the Post Mortem (2010) on ex-president Allende.

Mario is in love with his neighbour Nancy Puelma (Antonia Zegers) who is dancer at a cabaret theatre but unfortunately his feelings are not reciprocated. Mario's work colleague, Sandra (Amparo Noguea), is in love with him but because of Mario's infatuation with his attractive neighbour he feels unable to return Sandra's advances. Mario is unable to deal with this stressful state of affairs and retreats further into his isolated existence.

Mario Cornejo with his beloved Nancy.
Nancy Puelma is the daughter of a local Communist leader, and a women devoted to her dancing career but because of her age and increasing weight lose she is sacked from the cabaret. Mario does his best to support Nancy, but she prefers a younger man Victor, a friend of her father and a Communist. But during the dark days that followed the coup the military arrest and detain her father and her brother. Because of their association with what the authorities deem 'criminals' she and Victor are forced to go into hiding.

Rounding up the 'criminals' in Chile 1973.

The films main character is based on the real life Mario Cornejo, a man who worked in the Legal Medical Services in 1973 and who was in charge of the autopsy of Salvador Allende. The director was forced to carry out a lot of research about this very private and discrete person. With minimal information he managed to build a profile for the fictional Mario, a loner with no family, in fact an ordinary man who unwittingly becomes a significant figure in history, when caught in the wrong place at the right time! The movie does a great job of portraying this story as a metaphor for the missing in Chile. A part of history that evil people and their British friends attempted to sweep under the carpet along with the multitude of corpses.

A film of stark images that are not always obvious at first. Post Mortem is a continuation of Pablo Larrain’s previous film Tony Manero (2008) and the second part of an intended trilogy to show how the environment we live in effects our lives where love can turn to hate and understanding to rage. The most poignant scene is where Nancy and Mario are seated around the supper table and start to weep together for no apparently obvious reason seemingly forming a bond. Highly recommended for these who enjoy the study of human kind and relationships.

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