El Conde (lit. 'The Count') is a 2023 Chilean black comedy horror film directed by Pablo Larraín and written by Larraín and Guillermo Calderón. It is a satire that portrays Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as a 250-year-old vampire seeking death. The film stars Jaime Vadell, Gloria Münchmeyer, Alfredo Castro, and Paula Luchsinger.
|Directed by||Pablo Larraín|
|Written by||Pablo Larraín|
|Produced by||Juan de Dios Larraín|
|Edited by||Sofía Subercaseaux|
El Conde premiered at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on 31 August 2023 where it won the best Screenplay Award. It was released on Netflix on 15 September 2023, four days after the 50th anniversary of the 1973 coup d'etat, in which Pinochet seized power.
In the 18th century, Claude Pinoche, a royalist French soldier, is discovered to be a vampire and survives an attempt to kill him. Witnessing the French Revolution and the execution of Marie Antoinette, he fakes his death and flees abroad, participating in the suppression of revolutionary upheavals over the next two centuries. Eventually he ends up in Chile in 1935 and joins the Chilean Army under the name Augusto Pinochet. Rising to become a general, he overthrows the socialist government of Salvador Allende in 1973 and becomes the country's dictator, while demanding that he be addressed as "The Count" by his family. When authorities begin investigating his ill-gotten wealth and human rights abuses after he leaves office, he fakes his death again and retires to a remote farm. After 250 years of existence, he gradually loses his will to live, worrying his wife Lucia, and his long-time butler, Fyodor, a white Russian whom Pinochet bit and turned into a vampire.
Fyodor takes up Augusto's military uniform and goes on a gruesome killing spree to find and consume human hearts in Santiago. Thinking that their father was responsible, and anxious to receive their inheritance, the Pinochet children hire a nun, Carmen, to exorcise and kill Augusto under the guise of auditing the family's wealth, and go to the farm, followed by Carmen. Carmen charms Augusto with her fluency in French, while he discovers that Fyodor is having an affair with Lucia but tolerates it as he has grown tired of her. Carmen extensively interviews the household over their legal troubles and finances, assembling a dossier which she hides in her room.
Carmen reveals her true identity as a nun to Augusto and tries to exorcise him, but is overwhelmed by his presence and ends up having sexual intercourse with him and allows him to transform her into a vampire. This prompts the arrival of Margaret Thatcher, who is revealed to be Claude's mother, having abandoned him at an orphanage at birth after she was raped and bitten by a strigoi. Margaret, jealous of Carmen's claims to Augusto's love, orders her son to kill her. Instead Augusto shows off his wealth to Carmen, whereupon Carmen reveals that she has been feigning her attraction to him and that her becoming a vampire was part of her mission on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church to infiltrate the Pinochets and gather information on their corrupt dealings. As she flees, she is captured and guillotined by Fyodor, who burns her dossier.
Fyodor, Lucia and the Pinochet children then attempt to kill Augusto and Margaret to gain their inheritance, but Augusto kills Lucia by driving a stake through her heart and beheads Fyodor with a saw. As Augusto and Margaret rejuvenate themselves with vampire hearts and leave to start a new life, the children are left to salvage what they could of the farm. As they leave, Carmen's fellow nuns arrive at the property.
- Jaime Vadell as Augusto Pinochet
- Gloria Münchmeyer as Lucía Hiriart
- Alfredo Castro as Fyodor
- Paula Luchsinger as Carmen
- Catalina Guerra as Luciana
- Marcial Tagle as Anibal
- Amparo Noguera as Mercedes
- Diego Muñoz as Manuel
- Antonia Zegers as Jacinta
- Stella Gonet as Margaret Thatcher
- Clemente Rodriguez as Claude Pinochet
El Conde premiered at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on 31 August 2023. It received a limited theatrical release on September 7, 2023, in Chile and Argentina. It received a limited theatrical release in the US on September 8, 2023, before it began streaming worldwide on September 15, 2023, on Netflix.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, El Conde holds an approval rating of 82%, based on 115 critic reviews with an average rating of 7/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A darkly delirious satire rooted in real-life horror, El Conde finds Pablo Larraín revisiting familiar themes without losing their provocative power." On Metacritic, the film holds a weighted average score of 72 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref.|
|Venice Film Festival||9 September 2023||Golden Lion||Pablo Larraín||Nominated|||
|Golden Osella for Best Screenplay||Guillermo Calderón and Pablo Larraín||Won|||
|Camerimage||18 November 2023||Silver Frog||Edward Lachman||Won|||
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