El Conde (lit.'The Count') is a 2023 Chilean black comedy horror film[2] directed by Pablo Larraín and written by Larraín and Guillermo Calderón.[3][4] It is a satire that portrays Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as a 250-year-old vampire seeking death.[5] The film stars Jaime Vadell, Gloria Münchmeyer, Alfredo Castro, and Paula Luchsinger.[6]

El Conde
Netflix release poster
Directed byPablo Larraín
Written byPablo Larraín
Guillermo Calderón
Produced byJuan de Dios Larraín
StarringJaime Vadell
Gloria Münchmeyer
Alfredo Castro
Paula Luchsinger
CinematographyEdward Lachman
Edited bySofía Subercaseaux
Distributed byNetflix
Release dates
  • August 31, 2023 (2023-08-31) (Venice)
  • September 15, 2023 (2023-09-15) (Netflix)
Running time
110 minutes[1]

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.

Plot edit

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,[7] 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.

Cast edit

Production edit

Principal photography began on June 24, 2022.[9][10]

Release edit

El Conde premiered at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on 31 August 2023.[11][12] It received a limited theatrical release on September 7, 2023, in Chile and Argentina.[13][14] It received a limited theatrical release in the US on September 8, 2023,[15] before it began streaming worldwide on September 15, 2023, on Netflix.[16]

Reception edit

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."[17] On Metacritic, the film holds a weighted average score of 72 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[18]

Lindsey Bahr of AP News wrote "“El Conde” might stretch its gimmicky premise a little past its welcome, but it is an intoxicating, overwhelming and gruesome cinematic experience nonetheless."[19]

Accolades edit

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Venice Film Festival 9 September 2023 Golden Lion Pablo Larraín Nominated [20]
Golden Osella for Best Screenplay Guillermo Calderón and Pablo Larraín Won [21][22]
Camerimage 18 November 2023 Silver Frog Edward Lachman Won [23]

References edit

  1. ^ "Biennale Cinema 2023 | Venezia 80 Competition". La Biennale di Venezia. 2023-06-26. Retrieved 2023-07-25.
  2. ^ Squires, John (2023-08-10). "'El Conde' Trailer – Pablo Larraín's Netflix Project Is a Bloody Black & White Vampire Movie Like No Other". Bloody Disgusting!. Retrieved 2023-08-12.
  3. ^ "'El Conde' First Look: Pablo Larraín's New Netflix Film About A Vampiric Dictator Begins Filming". theplaylist.net. Retrieved 2023-07-08.
  4. ^ Hopewell, John (2022-06-24). "'Spencer' Director Pablo Larrain Sets Up Vampire Political Satire 'El Conde' at Netflix (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2023-07-08.
  5. ^ Vivarelli, Nick (2023-06-07). "Pablo Larraín on Depicting Augusto Pinochet as a Vampire in Netflix's 'El Conde' While the Right Explores New Ways to Conquer Power". Variety. Retrieved 2023-07-08.
  6. ^ "El Conde | ¿Cuál es el elenco de la nueva película de Pablo Larraín en Netflix?". RedGol (in European Spanish). 2022-06-26. Retrieved 2023-07-08.
  7. ^ "El Conde | ¿De qué trata la película de Pablo Larraín en Netflix?". RedGol (in European Spanish). 2022-06-25. Retrieved 2023-07-08.
  8. ^ "Pablo Larraín y Netflix preparan "El Conde", una sátira sobre un Pinochet vampiro". www.ambito.com. Retrieved 2023-07-08.
  9. ^ "Netflix Announces the Start of Production of 'El Conde', the New Movie by Pablo Larraín - About Netflix". 2022-12-05. Archived from the original on 2022-12-05. Retrieved 2023-07-08.
  10. ^ "Netflix anuncia inicio de grabaciones de "El Conde": Película dirigida por Pablo Larraín que imagina a Pinochet como un vampiro de 250 años". Puranoticia (in Spanish). Retrieved 2023-07-08.
  11. ^ "El Conde". La Biennale di Venezia. 6 July 2023. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  12. ^ "Pablo Larraín competirá en el Festival de Venecia con "El Conde", película que muestra a Pinochet como un vampiro". CNN Chile (in Spanish). Retrieved 2023-07-26.
  13. ^ Rojas, Fabián Nuñez (2023-09-01). "Tras éxito en Venecia: El Conde lanza nuevo trailer y confirma fecha de estreno en cines chilenos". Rock&Pop (in Spanish). Retrieved 2023-09-04.
  14. ^ "El Conde, la nueva película de Pablo Larraín, se estrena en septiembre en Argentina. | Cine y Teatro Argentino Hoy". cineargentinohoy.com.ar (in Spanish). 2023-09-01. Retrieved 2023-09-04.
  15. ^ "Review: A dictator as Dracula? Netflix's horror-comedy 'El Conde' doesn't draw blood". Los Angeles Times. 2023-09-07. Retrieved 2023-11-24.
  16. ^ Kohn, Eric (2023-08-10). "Inside Pablo Larraín's 'El Conde': How Chile's Dictator Became a Vampire in the Filmmaker's Provocative New Satire". IndieWire. Retrieved 2023-08-10.
  17. ^ "El Conde". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  18. ^ "El Conde Reviews". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  19. ^ Bahr, Lindsey (6 September 2023). "Movie Review: Pinochet as a vampire in surreal, frightening 'El Conde'". AP News. Retrieved 7 September 2023.
  20. ^ "Pablo Larraín competirá por el León de Oro en Venecia con película que presenta a Pinochet como vampiro". Emol (in Spanish). 2023-07-25. Retrieved 2023-08-16.
  21. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy; Ntim, Zac (9 September 2023). "Venice Winners: Golden Lion Goes To Yorgos Lanthimos For 'Poor Things'; Hamaguchi, Sarsgaard, Spaeny Also Score — Full List". Deadline. Retrieved 9 September 2023.
  22. ^ "Pablo Larraín y Guillermo Calderón ganan a Mejor Guion por "El Conde" en el Festival de Cine de Venecia". La Tercera (in Spanish). 2023-09-09. Retrieved 2023-09-09.
  23. ^ "EnergaCAMERIMAGE 2023 WINNERS! – EnergaCAMERIMAGE 2023". camerimage.pl. Retrieved 2023-11-19.

External links edit