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Abstract

In this essay, I interpret the experimental film El padre mío (1985) by Diamela Eltit and Loty. The film explores the symbolic father figure of Dictator Augusto Pinochet. Cinematic techniques are used to emphasize his changing role in Chilean society. I focus on the concept of “family”—that is, as a symbol of Chilean national identity—as it transitions through the chronology found within El padre mío. At first, the elimination of individualism within the Pinochet-headed “family” allows for a clear understanding of its nature and the inherent components of uniformity, conformity, structure, and censorship. When Pinochet is removed from this hypothetical family portrait, individualism, subjectivity, and pluralism surface. These components produce a “culturallyschizophrenic” image of the Chilean national identity—and thus, an image of a “familia maldita.”

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