Anna and Ben are settled in rural Chile in the early 1970's. They are very isolated and their only real friends are two Chilean sisters, Eva and Monica. When Ben is stranded in Santiago on ... See full summary »
Anna and Ben are settled in rural Chile in the early 1970's. They are very isolated and their only real friends are two Chilean sisters, Eva and Monica. When Ben is stranded in Santiago on the eve of the military takeover of 1973, Anna is livid...and this is made worse by the fact that Eva, the ex-personal assistant to Allende's wife, has been arrested by the soldiers of the new Pinochet regime and taken into custody where she is emotionally and sexually defiled. She is released, only to be further harassed by one of her arresting officers, Raoul, who poses as her protector but wishes to rape her. Meanwhile, Anna becomes involved with a Canadian journalist named Paul, who is compiling information for an extensive journalistic treatment of the coup. Anna and Ben organize an escape for Eva, over the walls of a convent to the safety of an embassy. Written by
In order to achieve the feeling of horror in a scene where a gathering of female prisoners are harassed and psychologically tortured in the nude, director Mihalis Kakogiannis decided to appeal for volunteers rather than professional actors, asking both his associates and friends. Cacoyannis interviewed women of different nationalities, including English, French, Americans and Greeks. Most of these women had never even seen a film camera, let alone undressed before one. Money was never an incentive for them. Cacoyannis said, "I explained that their inexperience in acting was an advantage, that their lack of artifice, the spirituality of their spontaneous reactions, would transcend physical realism, the way certain paintings can." At first he was not too successful "recruiting" volunteers, but soon found the women he needed. One was a well-known author, another a journalist, three were college professors, others university students, secretaries or just housewives. The shooting of this sequence was completed in five very stressful hours, and the reactions were neither planned nor rehearsed. At the end of the shooting day, their eyes still full of tears, some of them expressed their gratitude for what they called "a unique experience". See more »
Randy Quaid, as has been noted elsewhere, had not been cast as a Chilean military man. What the other reviewer didn't mention was that Quaid's acting coach must have been the Frito Bandito. His accent is right out of Central Casting, Latino Division. His whole performance took away any credibility this film might have had up to that point. In a film this serious, the last thing one expects is a character whose accent is so off-the-wall as to throw the whole film off track. From the time he first appears and starts talking, they could have changed the name of the film to "National Lampoon's Political Assassination Movie." Sometimes it really does take just one apple to spoil the whole bunch.
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