New Internationalist

Machuca

June 2005
Gonzalo and Pedro, crossing frontiers.

In Santiago, Chile, 1973, during the Allende Government, an élite fee-paying secondary school, run by priests, offers free education to boys from a nearby shanty town.

The priests’ initiative, opposed by many parents, brings together very different worlds. Gonzalo Infante’s parents are wealthy. At home he has his own room, full of books and toys, and a bicycle. Pedro Machuca lives with his indigenous Indian family in a single-room shack – he has only the clothes he stands up in. When Pedro is bullied, Gonzalo stands up for him and they become friends – until the coup when soldiers demolish Pedro’s squatter camp.

Gripping, beautifully acted by non-professionals, Machuca is an original, illuminating perspective on social divisions in the Majority World.

This column was published in the June 2005 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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