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Les Film d’Ici
CANNES — What was once the New Left — the protestors of the 1960s — are chronologically now the Old Left. This 163-minute opus celebrates the cause of the MIR, a Chilean resistance group that took to the barricades in that era. Filmmaker Carmen Castillo was an integral part of that resistance organization, and “Calle Santa Fe” is her attempt to reconnect with that era and memorialize the efforts of her late husband, MIR leader Miguel Enriquez, who was killed in a shootout in 1974 with Pinochet’s police.
Sincere and groping for answers, the film is more a home movie than a documentary film. It’s only likely U.S. venues might be in pop courses at such enclaves as Berkeley or Ann Arbor.
This Un Certain Regard entrant is in large part a nostalgic trek for Castillo: pointing out the bullet holes, talking to old neighbors, recalling the color of the house. Those dewy days were filled with rites-of-spring passion and steely idealism, and were clearly the most vital part of Castillo’s life. Subsequently, we learn she lived in exile, and we also see the tolls on the lives of the other revolutionaries, often in the feeling of abandonment and resentment their children and parents held for their choices.
Clotted with redundancies and paced with the desperation of a mentality that can’t let go, “Calle Santa Fe” will, perhaps, achieve its most prominent function as an historical resource. Historians or social psychologists might mine this for insights into the resistance personality, and the trajectory of the lives of those who were so sure so young.
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