The impressive feature debut from actor turned director Manuela Martelli, 1976 is an elegantly circumspect Spanish-language drama set against the backdrop of Pinochet-era Chile. Carmen (Aline Küppenheim) is a chic older woman whose marriage to a doctor has afforded her an enviably sheltered lifestyle. Her primary concern when we meet her is choosing exactly the right paint colour for the renovations on her summer home. But then the local priest persuades her to care for a wounded radical, Elías (Nicolás Sepúlveda), and Carmen starts to realise just how dangerous her country is for those who dare to disagree with its leaders.
Küppenheim is terrific, her precision and restraint in the role drawing us into the story. Mariá Portugal’s analogue electronic score is eerily atmospheric. And a recurring motif of shoes reminds us of the importance of toeing the Pinochet line.