Verónica Cortínez has written two volumes of Evolución en libertad: El cine chileno de fines de los sesenta (Santiago: Editorial Cuarto Propio, 2014; 975 pp.). They offer the reader a social, cultural and aesthetic history of a brilliant moment in a cinematic tradition that is often neglected because of its relative absence on the international market. This cinema of a small nation is the result of a long gestation within the framework of a nation-state trying to democratically develop a popular culture, that is to say a culture created and enjoyed by the greatest possible number of citizens. The cinematographic production promoted by the administration of Eduardo Frei Montalva on this basis presents a kaleidoscopic and diverse range of images nevertheless united by a shared sense of “chilenidad.” The films of a stellar group of directors working at the time—Alejo Álvarez, Germán Becker, Álvaro Covacevich, Aldo Francia, Patricio Kaulen, Miguel Littin, Raúl Ruiz and Helvio Soto—are remarkable not because of their political standpoints, which critics have tended to highlight, but because of the aesthetic richness of the images deployed through various film genres reinvented for a people in search of an identity. The cinema of the late sixties emerges as the perfect medium for a cultural synthesis where Chile’s urban and rural fictions happily coexists with traditional and modern theater, poetry, painting and television as well as folk, classical and pop music. As it explores the mostly ignored cultural foundations of this important corpus of films, the book provides a complete collection of the songs that give rhythm to the eight films under scrutiny: Morir un poco (1967) Largo viaje(1967), Tierra quemada (1968), Ayúdeme Ud. compadre (1968),Tres tristes tigres (1968), Caliche sangriento (1969), Valparaíso mi amor (1969), El chacal de Nahueltoro (1970). Along with a broad range of illustrations, the book also includes DVDs of the two most successful films of the era, virtually forgotten and unavailable to the public until now: the Chilean western, Tierra quemada; and the musical, Ayúdeme Ud. compadre.
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