Winner of the Sutherland Award for best first feature at the 2022 BFI London Film Festival, writer-director Manuela Martelli’s 1976 offers a refreshingly woman-centric narrative about Chile under the Pinochet dictatorship. It operates in a vaguely similar thriller mode to that of Pablo Larraín’s early breakthrough films Tony Manero (2008) and No (2012), while still presenting a distinctive and confident new cinematic voice.
Before her first screenwriting credit (working with fellow Chilean director Dominga Sotomayor on 2014 feature Mar), Martelli was primarily an on-screen presence, making her film debut as the lead teenage character of 2003 drama B-Happy. “I studied and went into acting because I was very curious about that world,” she says, “but in the back of my mind, I always knew I wanted to direct a film. I’d wanted to since I was a teenager, when I would go to the cinema a lot…”
Full interview for the BFI