Post Mortem formed the middle chapter of ‘No Redemption Trilogy’, Pablo Larrain’s bravura, intensely bleak and disturbing examination of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s regime. While Tony Manero focused on the disconcerting directions life took under Pinochet through sociopathic extremes of an obsessed dancer, and No chronicled the unprecedented referendum that led to Pinochet’s ouster, this film took one back to his overthrow of Salvador Allende’s democratically elected government through a bloody military coup. The protagonist, Mario (a memorably deadpan Alfredo Castro), is a lonely, introverted, apolitical middle-aged civil servant who works as an assistant to the head pathologist in a Santiago mortuary. The only spark in his otherwise dull, drab and uneventful life is his neighbor Nancy (Antonia Zegers), an attractive but anorexic cabaret dancer, out of favour with her boss for not being voluptuous, he’s completely besotted with. When he finally garners the courage to approach the lady and possibly develop a relationship with her, they get embroiled in the brutal and momentous 1973 crackdown that leaves the city in utter disarray and chaos – her home is ransacked and her family disappears for being vocal supporters of the Socialist government, whereas he gets sucked into a morbid vortex on account of the piling corpses and, in a grim rejoinder, to transcribe the cooked up post-mortem of Allende whose murder Pinochet’s henchmen want to paint as suicide. The stark and dreary tone, lack of background score, grainy visuals, and deliberate pacing, did a terrific job at highlighting the tragic and macabre storyline – uneasy attempts at a much delayed romantic life against the horrific political backdrop, leading to an ugly but logical end to the personal tale.
Director: Pablo Larrain
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Political Drama