USA, 2007, 84 minutes
Sun, May 4 / 3:00 / Kabuki / JUDG04K
Mon, May 5 / 6:00 / Kabuki / JUDG05K
Tue, May 6 / 6:30 / PFA / JUDG06P
A Chilean judge chosen to investigate criminal charges against former dictator General Augusto Pinochet undergoes a transformation, from Pinochet supporter to implacable prosecutor, as he uncovers the horrifying truth about the atrocities committed by the General’s regime in the 1970s and ’80s. A documentary as riveting as a police drama, The Judge and the General has a resolute hero in Judge Juan Guzmán, a product of Chile’s privileged class. Because he comes from a well connected conservative family that had opposed the socialist Allende government overthrown by Pinochet’s military coup in 1973, Guzmán’s colleagues doubted he would actively pursue the cases against Pinochet and others accused of human rights violations. But Guzmán surprised them by taking his responsibility seriously. The filmmakers record Guzmán’s scrupulous investigations as he travels across Chile clad in a bulletproof vest, surrounded by bodyguards. He exhumes bodies, examines evidence and interviews survivors, victims’ families and even an elderly and enfeebled Pinochet in his search for the truth. Guzmán hears testimony from a “disappeared” woman’s mother, who made a heartbreaking choice in order to save her granddaughter; the widow of an imprisoned dissident whom police later claimed died in a car accident; and the man’s fellow prisoner who survived to tell what really happened. As Pinochet’s health deteriorates, Guzmán’s efforts to determine the general’s culpability become a race against time. As in the best fictional dramas, several plot twists decide the judge’s decision, dictator’s fate and the future of human rights in Chile.
This film is competing for a Golden Gate Award. Presented in association with the World Affairs Council of Northern California. World Premiere. Sponsored by San Simeon Films.