For what Argentine cinema went through in the 1970s, and later successfully recovered from, it deserves every film lover’s attention. Surviving tough censorship and the repression of a military junta, it took two decades for Argentina’s movie industry to find and display its true self again.
The new, post-dictatorship generation of filmmakers aims to put aside the focus on political events of the past and explore contemporary social issues that everyday Argentinians can relate to. The new directors have made it a priority to tell compelling and more personal stories so viewers can recognize themselves in the characters onscreen.
While some critics may list what distinguishes the new Argentine directors from one another, rather than what their common traits are, that’s what makes up the Argentine film style. They are diverse and inventive, offering something for everyone.
Telling a story of a mother and a son suffering from domestic violence, and seeking for a safe place, “Refugiado,” shot with a documentary feel, captures one of the biggest problems in Argentina. According to director Diego Lerman, domestic violence affects every society class in Argentina and around the world, making the theme relatable to many.
The Academy award-winning “The Secret in Their Eyes,” screened by Fresno FIlmworks in June 2010, doesn’t seem very realistic at first. Failing to solve a crime investigation in the past, a retired legal counselor decides to write a novel and finish the story himself. Beginning the book as an eventful, yet not too relatable, story, filmmaker Juan José Campanella then plays with symbols and layers to investigate a theme of justice and law, which is not the last priority for the Argentine society.
It seems that “Sidewalls” director Gustavo Tarreto puts up a mirror to the modern world. Two distressed young adults, living in buildings opposite of each other, always get separated by the chaos of the city and new technology, yet we see them as being so much alike. “Sidewalls” is not just a love story; it’s almost like a documentary about the 21st Century lifestyle for future generations. The trailer alone will make you interrupt everything to find it and watch it!
On June 12, Filmworks will screen “Wild Tales,” an anthology film of six shorts that tell six stories of vengeance with a wicked use of black humor. While some of the events in the movie may leave us thinking “That would never happen in real life!” filmmaker Damián Szifron’s social satire still carries the Argentine style perfectly: Each and every one of us has a quirk.
Olga Verkhotina lives in Moscow where she works as a public relations manager for the communications agency Upside Com. A former Filmworks marketing intern, she still enjoys volunteering, even though she lives 10 time zones away.