Face to face with power

Pinochet and His Three Generals

Pinochet et ses trois généraux

Jose-Maria Berzosa

2004France101 minColour


In 1976, three years after the military coup against Allende’s government, José-Maria Bersoza met General Pinochet and proposed to make a filmed interview about his life and political thinking. Pinochet and three of his generals talk spontaneously about their ideas, producing a sarcastic portrait of the calmly fanatical tyrant.

PRINT SOURCE: INA, dblau@ina.fr

Claude Guisard, a former member of ORTF’s research unit and the great manitou behind the INA’s creative output at a time when the institute was producing chefs-d’œuvre for broadcast on public television, cannot accept the oblivion into which José María Berzosa has fallen: “His work is exemplary not only on account of the multitude and variety of the subjects addressed, but also because of his unique style and tone. He was unexpected, unusual, insolent and perfectly irreverent....“Berzosa got Pinochet and his entourage of generals to sit down in an intimate family setting, in presence of their forcibly admirative wives. One general talked about horses, another was filmed in his kennels outpouring excessive love for his watchdogs, while the third confided his excitement as an amateur painter. But the filmmaker intersperses these kitsch tableaus with poignant testimonies from the mothers and wives of the missing.”...“Initially, Chile’s embassy in Paris was totally fooled by the first screening. The diplomats sent over by the Junta were delighted with the image reflected in the faithful mirror they saw in José María Berzosa. After reading the press reviews, the scales fell from their eyes and they realized they had got it wrong. They then tried by all possible means to prevent the broadcast of the other parts of the documentary, but it was too late”, as Françoise Romand, filmmaker and then Berzosa’s assistant, recollects.
–Antoine Perraud (Mediapart.fr, 1 February 2018)

  • PRODUCTION : INA - Institut National de l'Audiovisuel
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