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(aka 'Le Cas Pinochet')

Directed by Patricio Guzmán
France | Chile | Belgium | Spain 200


On September 11, in 1973, a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet overthrew Chile s democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende. Responsible for the torture and death of thousands of his opponents, Pinochet ruled Chile until 1990, and retired from politics in 1998 with legal immunity granted by his self-designated position as senator for life. From the legendary Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzman (NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT, THE BATTLE OF CHILE) comes THE PINOCHET CASE, a masterful look at the dramatic 1998 arrest of Pinochet while on a shopping spree in London after a Spanish judge issued a warrant charging him with human rights violations. Guzman details the precedent-setting legal efforts to make the tyrant answer for his crimes. Equally important is the platform the film gives many of the survivors who recount egregious human rights abuses that have gone unpunished for nearly three decades.


In September 1998, the already turbulent history of modern Chile took a surprising turn when the British government successfully detained former-Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet for 16 months, while the House of Lords debated his extradition to Spain to stand trial for crimes against humanity. The action was the result of charges brought by solidarity minded Spanish public prosecutor Carlos Castressana and upheld by Spanish "superjudge" Baltazar Garzon, who ruled that crimes such as torture and genocide fall under universal jurisdiction and, in Pinochet's case, were subject to prosecution outside Chile. Pinochet's dictatorship lasted from Sept. 11, 1973, when his military allies staged a violent coup d'etat that ended in the death of democratically elected Socialist president Salvadore Allende, until 1990, when Pinochet was voted out of office. During his 17-year reign, approximately 3,200 Chileans were killed or disappeared without a trace; countless others were kidnapped and tortured in secret detention camps.


Theatrical Release: May 16th, 2001 (Cannes Film Festival)

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DVD Review: Icarus Films - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Icarus Films - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:49:24 
Video 1.75:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.0 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Spanish / English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, (burned-in)

Release Information:
Studio: Icarus Films

Aspect Ratio:
Letterboxed 1.75:1

Edition Details:

• none

DVD Release Date: September 4th 2012

Keep Case
Chapters: 18



We don't review enough documentaries on DVDBeaver and seeing gems like The Pinochet Case should be a wake-up call for us to venture to this genre more extensively. This is an important political case that deserves as much exposure as possible. The film is well put-together and provides an intriguing story.

The Icarus DVD seems at the mercy of what digital elements were provided to them. We have a non-anamorphic (letterboxed) image running at about 1.75:1. It is single-layered and interlaced but exports the feature well enough to be impressed with the content. It's a shame it couldn't have been transferred more robustly but colors seem true and sound audible. The English subtitles (for Spanish dialogue) are burned-in.

The educational value of The Pinochet Case is not hindered by the limited SD rendering - although, frankly, also does not augment them either - this is 2012! Still this is almost essential viewing and I am unaware of another digital version to recommend. Those keen on this story and its global impact and call for justice should consider this DVD. 

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Icarus Films - Region 1 - NTSC

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