After a US sponsored coup d’état, Augusto Pinochet kept an iron grip on Chile between 1973 and 1990. After seizing power with the backing of the military, the dictator used his influence to amass a personal fortune and supress any dissenters. When he stepped down it marked a brave new dawn for the South American country. Chileans had to learn how to live again and embrace their new-found freedoms. This is the backdrop to Dominga Sotomayor’s new film Too Late to Die Young.
During the summer of 1990, a group of families form a small rural community at the foot of the Andes in order to try and forge new lives for themselves. Sofia (Demian Hernández) is a bored 16-year-old who lives with her father (Andrés Aliaga) but dreams of returning to the city to stay with her mother. She’s been close friends with her neighbour Lucas (Antar Machado) for years but he wants more from the relationship. As they build-up to a New Year’s Eve party, things become strained when an older man (Matías Oviedo) arrives on the scene.
Too Late to Die Young is a coming-of-age drama which is as much about the uncertainty, excitement and anxiety of a new beginning as it is about reaching adulthood. Whilst there’s no direct mention of politics, the illusion is clear. We view this transition through the eyes of several generations of Chileans. Much of the joy of Sotomayor’s assured creation is the way she’s prepared to let the minutiae of community life unfold in front of her audience. The young cast impress but it’s the beautifully shot allegories which stay with you.
You have five opportunities to see Too Late to Die Young at London Film Festival.