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La Cueca Sola
A film by Marilu Mallet
Canada, 2003, 52 minutes, Color, DVD, Spanish, Subtitled
Order No. W04844
On September 11, 1973, a military coup in Chile brought Augusto Pinochet to power, and over the next 17 years, thousands of women and men were taken from their homes- never to return. Since that time, Chilean women have danced the country’s traditional courtship dance alone, and LA CUECA SOLA has become a symbol of women’s struggle against the dictatorship.

After 30 years in exile, critically acclaimed filmmaker Marilu Mallet returns to Santiago to meet with five Chilean women from three generations who suffered under the dictatorship and have emerged as heroes under democracy. Isabel Allende, Monique Hermosilla, Estela Ortiz, Carolina Toha and Moyenei Valdes all lost a father, a husband, or a friend, but have surmounted their grief to bravely speak out, each in their own way- from political action to vocal performance. Intimate interviews reveal the women’s shocking experiences under the dictatorship, while inspiring footage of their current work highlights their passion to rebuild. Illustrating throughout with a wealth of archival images, Mallet paints a vivid portrait of the country’s painful past and offers insight on Chile’s situation today. Important historically, socially and politically, this moving film expresses both the courage of women and the vitality of a nation.


  • Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montreal
  • CineFestival en San Antonio
  • Puerto Vallarta Film Festival
  • Hot Docs - Best Canadian Doc, Best Direction (Canadian Spectrum)
  • Cine Las Americas - Audience Award

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    “Recommended...focuses on the strength of women fighting for their loved ones as well as their participation in rebuilding a democracy.”
    Cindy Badilla-Melendez
    Educational Media Reviews Online

    “A moving meditation, it provides both political history and personal testimony to the memory of assassination and torture. Significantly, it also engages the gendered politics of resistance, the restoration of dignity, and the capacity, with extraordinary bravery, to move transformatively into the future with both strength and the memory of those past horrors.”
    Joe Boles
    Northern Arizona University

    “In La Cueca Sola, Mallet returns to her native Chile, to retrace and redraw an old landscape of memory with the multicolored life stories of life-long friends who, like herself, have danced about loss with integrity and courage, even when they had no choice but to dance it alone. The result is as exhilarating as it is healing.”
    Elena Feder
    Independent Scholar and Curator, University of British Columbia

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us