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Directed by Andrés Wood
Produced by Andrés Wood
Written by Roberto Brodsky
Eliseo Altunaga
Andrés Wood
Starring Matías Quer
Ariel Mateluna
Manuela Martelli
Music by Miguel Miranda
José Miguel Tobar
Cinematography Miguel Ioann Littin Menz
Edited by Fernando Pardo
Soledad Salfate
Distributed by Menemsha Entertainment
Release dates
  • 5 August 2004 (2004-08-05) (Chile)
Running time 121 minutes
Language Spanish
Box office $3,187,700 (worldwide)[1]

Machuca is a 2004 Chilean film written and directed by Andrés Wood. Set in 1973 Santiago during Salvador Allende's socialist government and shortly before General Augusto Pinochet's military coup in 1973, the film tells the story of two friends, one of them the very poor Pedro Machuca who is integrated into the elite school of his friend Gonzalo Infante. The social integration project is headed by the director of the school, Father McEnroe.

The film is dedicated to Father Gerardo Whelan, C.S.C. who from 1969 to 1973 was the director of Colegio Saint George (Saint George's College), the private school in Santiago that the film's director attended as a boy.

Machuca performed well in theaters in Chile, but did not have notable box office success outside of Latin America.


The film shows the perspective of Gonzalo Infante, a privileged boy who catches a glimpse of the world of the lower class through Machuca, at a moment when the lower classes are politically mobilized, demanding more rights and forcing fundamental change. At the same time the upper middle class, including Gonzalo's own family, grow fearful of the growing socialist movement and plot against the country's elected president, Salvador Allende. Infante's sympathies, however, clearly lie with the poor based on what he has seen.

Gonzalo Infante attends a private school where the principal introduces five new, poor students. Gonzalo becomes friends with Machuca after he refuses to bully him while others in the class pick on Machuca. As the boys grow closer, they experience how each other live. Political unrest grows and political upheaval is imminent.

When the military coup d'état is launched which brutally represses poor and activist Chileans, including his friends and Father McEnroe, his own class status comes into relief. Moments after witnessing the murder of Machuca's cousin, Silvana, by soldiers clearing a shantytown, Infante is nearly arrested himself. He pleads with the soldier to recognize that he does not belong to this shantytown. The soldier is only convinced after noticing Gonzalo's blonde hair, pale complexion, more expensive clothing and particularly the branded shoes that Machuca had admired in a previous scene. Thus, Infante is forced to abandon his friend, using his class status as a free pass.

At the end of the film, his family moves into a new, more opulent home. The audience is meant to understand, along with Infante, that this new wealth is connected to the brutal repression of the Chilean masses, who had hoped for real societal change by attempting to create a socialist society.


  • Ariel Mateluna as Pedro Machuca
  • Matías Quer as Gonzalo Infante
  • Manuela Martelli as Silvana
  • Ernesto Malbran as Father McEnroe
  • Aline Küppenheim as María Luisa Infante
  • Federico Luppi as Roberto Ochagavía

Awards and nominations[edit]

This film was nominated for the Ariel Award in 2005 in the category Best Iberoamerican Film. It won Most Popular International Film at the 2004 Vancouver International Film Festival.[2]


  1. ^ "Machuca (2005)". Box Office Mojo. 10 February 2005. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "23rd Vancouver International Film Festival Breaks Records" (Press release). Vancouver International Film Festival. 13 October 2004. Archived from the original on 27 February 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 

External links[edit]