Socialist Worker

Pinochet In Suburbia

This docudrama looks at the attempts to extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet from Britain

Issue No. 1993

This docudrama looks at the attempts, between 1998 and 2000, to extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet from Britain to face trial for the torture and murders that took place under his regime.

When Pinochet is first arrested you have a conscientious then home secretary Jack Straw saying, “We’ve got the bastard!”

Yet at the same time it is clear that Pinochet’s release, and the fact that he has still not faced charges, is due to the collusion of New Labour.

The most effective strand follows the Chilean community in Britain as they campaign against Pinochet. Their anger and frustration at the legal processes are truly moving.

One of the main characters is Nicole Drouilly, played brilliantly by Yolanda Vazquez. Her sister was taken by Pinochet’s secret police in October 1974. This gives the film a real sense of actuality. It is a well acted, entertaining and sometimes surreal film.

This is especially true of the relationship between Pinochet and Margaret Thatcher, with Anna Massey performing a slightly disturbing caricature of Thatcher.

Fusing together news images from the time with a fictionalisation of events, this is one of the most political dramas to come out of the BBC for a while. It is well worth watching.

Pinochet In Suburbia, BBC 2, 9pm, Sun 26 Mar

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Article information

Sat 25 Mar 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1993
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