Chile in Film


Many people prepare for their travel to Chile by reading guidebooks or the nation’s literature. For those who prefer to learn about the country before the start of their Chile tours by watching films, here are some suggestions.

Though Chilean filmmaker, Patricio Guzman, is best known for his political films, he has made other documentaries that may interest those planning to travel to Chile. His 1999 film, La Isla de Robinson Crusoe is about the Juan Fernandez Islands, the legendary setting for Daniel Defoe’s novel, Robinson Crusoe. These remote islands offer visitors great scuba diving opportunities for those who include the islands in their Chile tours. Of course if your Chile travel itinerary includes these islands and is a family vacation, the kids may prefer to watch one of the many films that have been adapted from the novel.

Guzman’s 2010 film, Nostalgia for the Light, captures the starkly beautiful Atacama Desert of Chile’s Norte Grande region as well as telling about its involvement in the country’s tumultuous history. This film is a good choice for those who decide to add our San Pedro de Atacama tour extension to their travel to Chile.

When the Italian film, Il Postino, came out in 1995, romantics, young and old, loved it. It is a fictionalized account of the months that Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, spent in Capri. In the plot, he coaches a young postal worker on how to woo a girlfriend and how to appreciate the beauty of the island. What better love coach could there be than the creator of some of the world’s best love poems? The film starred the famous French actor, Philippe Noiret as Neruda and won the Academy Award for best original music score as well as nominations for four more. The film’s soundtrack included well-known celebrities reciting Neruda’s poetry that introduced a new generation to his work. Il Postino was adapted from Chilean writer Antonio Skarmeta’s novel and film of the same name, Burning Patience (Ardienta paciencia). A tragic back story to Il Postino is that Massimo Troisi, one of the film’s screenwriters who also starred in the role of the young postman, postponed surgery for a heart condition until the completion of the movie. The day after filming ended, he died of a heart attack.

Folks love a good survival story. For visitors who wait awhile to travel to Chile, they’ll be able to see Hollywood’s version of the 2010 event in northern Chile that kept millions of people the world over riveted to their televisions for two months: the government’s efforts to keep thirty-three trapped miners alive after the collapse of a mine shaft at the San Jose copper mine while a rescue plan was devised. The producer of Black Swan and Shutter Island secured the film rights in 2011. Who will star in the story of Los 33 has not yet been announced.