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The First Year

A film by Patricio Guzmán

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THE FIRST YEAR is a jubilant record of the 12 months following the election of Chile’s first socialist president, Salvador Allende. Director Patricio Guzmán travels the country, meeting workers who no longer have to answer to the caprices of bosses, fishermen hoping to be freed from predatory capitalist middlemen, and Indigenous people rising up to reclaim their land.

Guzmán has a talent for capturing powerful emotions: the man with an arm mangled after a workplace accident remembering workplace humiliation. The excitement of young people greeting Fidel Castro on a state visit. The relief of miners no longer forced to work under unsafe conditions.

But not everyone is happy. The upper classes do their best to undermine the economy — and blame the results on Allende. By the end of the year, there are already signs of the counter-revolution to come.

Restored and digitized version under Patricio Guzmán’s supervision, this version features a short introduction to Chile and its history by documentary legend Chris Marker, who adapted the original film into French.

“A dual ode to the revolutionary potential of Latin America beyond Cuba and a celebration of decades of organizing in Chile. This is an active cinema for an active audience.” —Rosa Martinez, PopMatters

“Critics' Pick! Remarkable… throbs with jubilant energy.” —Devika Girish, The New York Times

“An interesting examination of Chilean politics before the 1973 coup… recommended for college courses in such disciplines as Latin American History, Labor Studies, and Political Science.” —Educational Media Reviews Online

96 minutes / B&W
French; Spanish / English subtitles
Release: 2023
Copyright: 1972

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