In the long and narrow country of Chile, the Andes are never far away—the mountain chain (cordillera) is the country’s rocky spine. In the closing part of his essayistic Chile trilogy director Patricio Guzmán analyzes the relationship between the impassive, timeless landscape and the tumultuous history of the country he has not lived in since 1973. Artists and intellectuals fled the country in droves following the military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet, who would remain the country’s dictator for many years.
Breathtaking panoramas of snow-capped mountains are accompanied by Guzmán’s own reflections in voice-over: the mountains both protect and isolate the country from the rest of the world. He interviews artists and scientists, among them cameraman Pablo Salas, who stayed behind in Chile and filmed all the protests, remaining a thorn in the regime’s side for all those years. Footage of violent police actions from Salas’s inexhaustible archive contrast with the serene natural scenes in which Guzmán intertwines his personal recollections with the broader narrative of Chile’s history. He also contemplates the fate of the new generation: can they dare to dream?