Chilean director Lissette Orozco's ADRIANA'S PACT is a psychologically fascinating documentary about the true story of her favourite aunt Adriana being arrested for committing torture under General Pinochet's brutal Chilean dictatorship in the 1980s. Suddenly this beautiful and glamorous aunt is a defensive, demonstrative wreck, bemoaning the bad press in Chile and denying that she had any part in such crimes. After much pressure and many skype conversations, the mask starts to slip a little. Ok so she admits she WAS a member of the secret police, but only because she was glamorous and new how to receive foreign delegations. Ok so maybe she did realise that people were being tortured, but she wasn't personally involved, and by then she couldn't have protested or her own family would've been at risk. And well, you know, maybe sometimes you have to torture communists, because they are stubborn, and the US tortures people too, but you know I didn't do it.
The documentary is painful to watch because you're seeing a real-time example of a child having a glamorous relation demystified and a firm belief in innocence turned to a tentative belief in guilt. But it's fascinating because you're getting a glimpse into the psychology of someone who fell into wickedness and now has to live with it by somehow compartmentalising it or dissociating herself from it. Although not entirely analogous it reminded me of BLIND SPOT - the documentary about Hitler's secretary insofar as there was something a little off in the protestations of naivety. It's also interesting to see how Australia deals with the problem of Adriana hiding out there - many Chilean Australians have family killed during the Pinochet regime after all - and to my knowledge she still hasn't been extradited to face charges in Chile.
ADRIANA'S PACT has a running time of 94 minutes. The film played Berlin and London 2017.
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