Chile Through Film: Top 10 Movies Set in Chile You Must Watch

By Romey Norton
Published: September 18, 2023 (Last updated: last month)
10 Best Films set in Chile
Endless Poetry (2017)

Chile is a beautiful country in South America, and while it has a narrow territory, it contains an array of different landscapes and beaches for all to enjoy.  The country is home to many artists who have lived and studied there, including poets Pablo Neruda and Nicanor Parra. Pedro Pascal (The Last of Us), Cote de Pablo (NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service), and Leonor Varela (Blade II) are all actors who were born in Chile. 

While the country’s main industries are agriculture and mining, the country does have a growing and budding film industry. If you’d like to learn and see more about Chile, then here is a list of ten films that I recommend you watch.

Neruda (2016)  

Neruda, by Pablo Larraín, could be considered a biopic of the famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, and plays with the idea of a biography and mixes history and fiction. It’s set in 1984, and the Cold War reached Chile.

Senator Pablo Neruda accuses the government of betraying the Communist Party, and Police Prefect Oscar Peluchonneau is assigned to arrest the poet.

My Best Enemy (2005)

This drama-comedy is set during the war between Chile and Argentina and follows the story of two patrols who become stranded in the mountains and must help each other to survive. The film stars Nicolás Saavedra, Erto Pantoja, and Felipe Braun and won the Pudú de Plata for the best Chilean movie at the Valdivia International Film Festival.

The Club (2015)

This film follows the story of a crisis counselor who is sent by the Catholic Church to a small Chilean beach town where local Priests and nuns have disgraced the town. Accused of serious crimes, the counselor seeks the truth to help this town. 

Endless Poetry (2016)

Endless Poetry is an autobiography by famous Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, who traces back to his youth in Santiago de Chile. This was his first movie after a twenty-three-year hiatus, and it was not a disappointment.

It’s an intense drama that will have you hooked from the beginning. 

Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus (2013) 

Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus, by Sebastián Silva, is a comedy about a young American, Jaime (Micheal Cera), who invites an eccentric-free spirited hippie woman on a road trip with him and his friends around Chile.

They want to seek out the San Pedro cactus, which is known to contain a potent hallucinogen. Their journey becomes a battle of wills and isn’t as easy as he’d hoped.

Interestingly, this film was shot over 12 days in Chile when their funding for Magic Magic fell through, and they didn’t want to leave the country without achieving something. 

El Conde (2023)

This is for the horror-comedy fans. The story follows Augusto Pinochet, who is a vampire who is ready to die, but the vultures around him won’t let him go without one last bite. It’s imaginative and illustrative of Chile over the past 50 years. 

Machuca (2004)

This film is centered around the Chilean dictatorship and the intense division that came with General Pinochet’s violent rule. The story is told through the perspective of a sensitive 11-year-old boy from a rich family and is a carefully constructed story about friendship and coming of age. 

No (2012) 

This Oscar-nominated historical-drama film will help you learn about the marketing campaign that helped put an end to 17 years of dictatorship in Chile.

The film is based on the unpublished stage play El Plebiscito written by Antonio Skármeta and shows the advertising tactics in political campaigns.

El Chacal de Nahueltoro (1969)

This gritty Chilean drama film directed by Miguel Littín centers around the true story of an impoverished drunk who murdered his partner and her five children. The film follows the Chilean criminal before and after committing these heinous crimes and his wait on death row. 

La Nana (2009)

The award-winning Chilean comedy-drama film La Nana, or “The Maid,” is directed by Sebastián Silva and co-written by Silva and Pedro Peirano. Raquel, a Chilean maid, has worked in the house of the wealthy Valdes family for over two decades, and the film explores her experiences. 

Do you have any other recommendations for films set in Chile? Let us know in the comments.

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