August 3, 2021

contemporary dive into Chile’s nightmares


It floats over the eight episodes of The pack a dark cloud in the person of a retired general. Luis Gnecco, whom the French public had discovered in the guise of Pablo Neruda, in the film that Pablo Larrain devoted to the poet, expresses in a few rantings embellished with contemptuous pouts all the weight that the military institution continues to exert on a society which still has not liquidated the after-effects of the dictatorship, whether institutional, economic or ethical.

Read the review of “Neruda”: In the footsteps of a hunted poet

This mark of the past does not prevent The pack to be a completely modern series. Firstly because it offers an echo of fiction to the very real feminist movement which animated the streets of Santiago and the big cities of the country in 2020. Secondly because this black story calls as much for the uses of the digital age as it does. ‘to the figures of adolescent fiction – the better to put them at the service of a fiction as relevant as it is excessive.

In a high school – private, Catholic, elitist – in Santiago, a teacher is accused of sexual assault by several students. While the majority of high school girls demonstrate to obtain the dismissal of the teacher, a few boys, handsome kids, rugby players trained by the priest who runs the establishment, dream of the tranquility experienced by their fathers and grandfathers and work to restore it. . Blanca, figurehead of the protest movement, is kidnapped, without the kidnapping being claimed. The case is entrusted to three investigators (Antonia Zegers, Daniela Vega – she held the title role in A fantastic woman, by Sebastian Lelio – and Maria Gracia Omegna), who quickly discover that the victim had been pointed out to his attackers by the organizer of an online game said «Game of the wolf», “The wolf’s game”.

Unexpected alliance

The trio painfully weave their way through an infernal maze of complicity between notables of all persuasions (ecclesiastical, military, industrial, police), of general indifference to violence against women, but also of an unforeseen alliance between attractive teenagers. and brimming with testosterone, and a handful of their older siblings resentful of anything out of their genre, “incels” (misogynistic bachelors), in short.

Read also: “Wakolda”: a disturbing gothic tale

Argentinian director Lucia Puenzo, author of a very scary film – Wakold -, which told of the irruption of a mysterious German doctor in the life of a small Argentina, after the Second World War, joined the Chilean creators of The pack, Sergio Castro and Enrique Videla to complete the script and direct the pilot of the series. It is probably she who breathes this dark energy into these few hours of anguish. The staging (to which Nicolas Puenzo, Sergio Castro and Marialy Rivas also contributed) contemplates the urban landscape of Santiago from high above, slips like a spy into the icy interiors of the upper middle class, does not hesitate not to be shocked by the spectacle of violence, sometimes at the risk of complacency.

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