Willemien Sanders
Dr. Willemien Sanders is a regular critic at Modern Times Review.

September 11 is a historical date for most of us, but for many others, it has a different meaning entirely.

Adriana’s Pact

Lissette Orozco

Chile, 2017, 96 min.

Apart from the 9/11 attacks, it also marked the day in 1973 in which Chilean president Salvador Allende was deposed and Augusto Pinochet began a brutal dictatorial rule over the country. As with any regime, Pinochet could not act on his own. Many Chileans helped him carry out his plans. One of them was Manuel Contreras, head of the notorious DINA (Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional), Pinochet’s secret police. Contreras had a personal secretary named Adriana Rivas, who also happens to be the favorite aunt of documentary filmmaker Lisette Orozco. Orozco had just entered film school when her aunt was arrested on accusations of kidnapping, torture, and murder. So what else to do but  make a film?

Adriana’s Pact begins with an introduction to the highly matriarchal family, through the filmmaker’s voice over, home movies and photographs. There is specific attention paid to the ambitious, outgoing and independent aunt Adriana, nicknamed Chany. Chany ‘works for the air force’ and lives in Australia, but comes back to visit Chile every now and then. That is until the day she is arrested. From this point on, Orozco starts to untangle a complicated history filled with lies, half-truths, and silences. On one hand, Orozco’s investigation relies on archival material of the Pinochet regime, newspaper articles, along with witness and expert testimonies. The rest of the film utilizes interviews and testimony by Adriana Rivas herself. Through juxtaposition and reflection, Orozco tries to find out what happened and whether her aunt is culpable or not.

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