Patricio Guzmán’s important groundbreaking documentary of the infamous military coup against the democratically elected socialist government of Chilean President Salvador Allende.

Will be followed by post film discussion with the Director Patricio Guzmán and other experts of this crucial period of Latin American development.

Thursday 27 April at 7.30pm  £10 (£8)
To book tickets contact the Bloomsbury Theatre Box Office on 0207 388 8822 or visit
The UCL Bloomsbury Theatre
15 Gordon Street
London WC1H 0AH
Tube: Euston, Warren Street, Euston Square  BR: Euston
Buses:  10,18, 24, 29 and 73
This event is sponsored by Souvenir Press – the first company to publish Neruda’s works in the United Kingdom.

 “The urge to return to this atypical man, revolutionary and fanatic of democracy to the point of suicide, came over me for obvious historical reasons, but also for its cruel actuality. Allende’s passion for democracy is at the heart of this voyage into my country’s history. A country without documentation is like a family without photos: an empty memory” (Patricio Guzmán)

As part of the week long Independent Voices Festival sponsored by Souvenir Press, there will be a rare opportunity to see the 2004 documentary by celebrated filmmaker Patricio Guzmán, Salvador Allende, in which he revisits Chile 30 years after the infamous 1973 military coup. This is the latest of several films made by Guzmán about his native country, including The Battle of Chile (described as “among the best documentary films ever made” by Time Out) and The Pinochet Case.

On another ‘9/11’, 11th September 1973, the socialist President of Chile Salvador Allende committed suicide as troops under the leadership of General Augusto Pinochet surrounded his burning presidential palace, and a proud and idealistic nation died with him. In this latest film, Guzmán continues his personal exploration of the history of his country, returning to Chile to look for the legacy of Allende thirty years on.
The film-maker finds a country understandably reluctant to openly discuss their former president, having endured the regime of his successor. He explains how Allende’s government was undermined from the start and emphasises the determination of Nixon and Kissinger to see him overthrown, as witnessed by senior CIA operatives interviewed for the film. He examines the legacy of oppression and resistance and the lack of reckoning with his country’s past, which provides some fascinating contemporary parallels.

Salvador Allende won the award for Best Documentary at the Lima Latin American Film Festival in 2005, and was nominated for a Goya Award. This timely screening will be followed by a discussion with the director and his collaborator Renate Sachse (filming commitments permitting) and other experts on Latin American history and will be is essential viewing for fans of Guzmán’s work.

“Elegiac… Allende’s story – and this remarkable film – resists the soft corruption of declaring him a martyr” (Independent on Salvador Allende)

“What Guzmán passionately and clinically observes in Chile is valid for the whole world” (Ariel Dorfman on The Battle of Chile)
Notes to Editors
Independent Voices present
Salvador Allende


Patricio Guzmán was born in 1941 in Santiago, Chile. As an adolescent in the late 1950’s he became drawn to documentary filmmaking when he had the opportunity to see some of the films of Chris Marker, Frederic Rossif and Louis Malle. He studied filmmaking at the Film Institute at the Catholic University of Chile and thereafter at the Official School of Film in Madrid, where he obtained his degree in Film Direction in 1970. When he returned to Chile, in 1971, he directed his first documentary, The First Year (which covered the first 12 months of Salvador Allende’s government), which was shown in commercial theatres that very year.

The French documentary filmmaker Chris Marker, who was passing through Chile at the time, happened to see the film and offered to help screen it in France. Two years later, Chris Marker provided invaluable assistance again when he donated the raw stock necessary to commence filming The Battle of Chile (a 4 and ½ hour documentary trilogy about Allende’s final year). Filming on this project continued until the very day of the coup d’etat. The day of the coup, Guzmán was imprisoned in Chile’s National Stadium, where he remained for 15 days. Later, after regaining his freedom, he left for Europe with his film canisters in tow. Once there he began, with the help of Chris Marker, to find the economic means to complete the film. This time, saving grace came from the Cuban Film Institute – the ICAIC – which offered to support the editing and post-production. Guzmán flew to Havana and finished the film a few years later.

The Battle of Chile won 6 Grand Prizes in Europe and Latin America. It was shown in commercial theatres in 35 countries. The film magazine Cineaste declared it as "One of the ten best political films in the world." Later, Guzmán continued to make documentaries (in France and Spain), many of them focusing on Chilean concerns. In 1987 he made In God’s Name (Grand Prize, Florence ’87) about the Catholic Church’s fight for human rights in Chile.

From 1990 to 1992 he worked on The Southern Cross (Grand Prize, Marseille ’92) about the theology of liberation and popular religion in Latin America. In 1995, Town in Stasis focused on the historical memory of a Mexican village. In 1997, Chile, Obstinate Memory looked into collective political amnesia in Chile. 1999 brought Robinson Crusoe Island about the remote Chilean island of the same name. The Pinochet Case in 2001, examined the case brought against General Augusto Pinochet (Grand Prize, Marseille ’01). In 2002, he completed Madrid, a look at Spain’s capital. Currently, Guzmán is a professor of documentary film at various schools in Europe and Latin America. He has also been a jury member in many acclaimed festivals in his field. Since 1997, he has been the Director of the Santiago Documentary Film Festival, which was founded with the help of a group of young filmmakers. He lives in Paris with Renate Sachse, who collaborates on the scripts for his films. He has two daughters, Andrea and Camila, who are also filmmakers and frequently work on his projects.