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A Family Business: Chile and the Transition to Democracy in Alberto Fuguet’s Se arrienda


Alberto Fuguet’s film Se arrienda (Chile, 2005) depicts a landmark era in Chile’s history: the Transition to Democracy (1988-2004). In this article, I argue that Fuguet’s film represents Chile during the Transition to Democracy through the lenses of culture and economics. I maintain that the film’s dual temporal structure; polysemous title; and epigraph from L.P. Hartley’s coming-of-age novel The Go-Between (1953) establish its allegorical qualities. Additionally, I analyze three facets of the film which are central to the film’s representation of Chile during the Transition: the 1988 Human Rights Now! concert in Mendoza; the relationship between Gastón and his father; the marginalized character of Chernovsky. First, I argue that the film’s representation of the Human Rights Now! concert reflects the collective optimism and solidarity at the beginning of the Transition. Second, I maintain that the relationship between Gastón and his father embodies “family capitalism” (Hierarchical Capitalism 47). Finally, I argue that the portrayal of Chernovsky’s descent into poverty and isolation reflects the entrenched socio-economic inequality and limited social safety net in Transition-era Chile.

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