See Chilean story on the big screen in Beaver Creek |

See Chilean story on the big screen in Beaver Creek

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Theo Stroomer/tstroomer@vaildaily.comFilm critic Walter Chaw will lead a discussion in the Vilar Center lobby following the showing of "Machuca" on Tuesday. Chaw sees more than 400 films a year and is known for his insightful commentary.

BEAVER CREEK ” The Vail Symposium’s Beaver Creek Food and Film Series continues on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Vilar Performing Arts Center with another evening of international film, cuisine and discussion. The film, “Machuca,” will transport viewers from the Rocky Mountains to the streets of Santiago with a poignant story of friendship between two young boys who come of age during Chile’s first democratically elected socialist government, shortly before General Augusto Pinochet’s coup in 1973.

“I love coming of age films,” said Fraidy Aber, executive director of the Vail Symposium. “One of the reasons we selected this film is to view the political and historical setting of an influential South American event.”

Following the film will be a sampling of Chilean food from Ocotillo restaurant. The tasting will be accompanied by a discussion with film critic Walter Chaw in the Vilar’s lower lobby.

A mainstay of the Food and Film Series, Chaw has become known in Vail for his insightful commentary and the many connections he draws from viewing more than 400 films per year. Chaw is the senior critic at He has been published in L.A. Weekly, among other alternative weeklies across the country, and is syndicated in more than 50 small press publications.

Gonzalo hails from an upscale neighborhood in the suburbs of Santiago, where he lives with his father and his adulteress mother. He attends a private, English-language boys’ school, run by headmaster Father McEnroe. McEnroe, swept with the egalitarian, socialist spirit of President Allende’s government, grants scholarships for a few poor boys to attend the private school. Gonzalo befriends a scholarship student by the name of Pedro Machuca, who hails from the slums of Santiago. These two young friends adventure together, experiencing their first tastes of love, family drama, and entrepreneurship.

With a shared love for comic books, the boys set aside the painful differences between Machuca’s world of shantytown poverty and the sheltered comfort of Gonzalo’s financial stability. Machuca exposes Gonzalo to Santiago’s greater political strife, including protests, demonstrations and marches. As their country drifts toward civil war, the audience sees how Gonzalo and Machuca’s normal rites of passage and hardships of growing up are marred with political upheaval and societal tension.

The experiences from their school soon become a microcosm of the greater hot-bed of class polarization and political turmoil experienced by Chile in 1973. Can the two young boys overcome the divide of their social classes? How does a society segregated by class and political ideology survive?

These questions and others will be discussed following the film with Chaw. Tickets are available at the Vilar Center box office, or by calling 970-845-TIXS.

Support Local Journalism