Argentina, 1985: Veins opened by the uniform

San Sebastián dedicated the afternoon of the Perlak exhibition to Argentina, 1985, “The” audience phenomenon of its 70th edition, on the opening weekend, selling out the Cine Teatro Principal, with spectators huddled in their seats. It is the strength of the legacy of its protagonist, Ricardo Darín. A couple of films from the early 2000s – Nueve Reinas and El Hijo De La Novia – gave Ricardo Alberto Darín a head start in the star system Latin American. He is part of a select list (with Paulina García, Alfredo Castro, Sonia Braga, Edgar Ramírez, Ana de Armas, Alice Braga, Rodrigo Santoro, Pedro Pascal and Wagner Moura) whose projection goes beyond the border of Central or South American Pangea, consecrating him as a star of global respectability. He has already been to the biggest festivals in the world for titles in competition and refused to take the Hollywood road, to escape the caricature.

A dear friend, who is not part of the art world, nor sees my films, asks me when I will be a villain of 007, because, in his mind, facing James Bond is the greatest glory for those who make cinema. Now I make films to portray the ills of my country”, Darín told C7nema in 2017, when he launched La Cordillera”, in Cannes, alongside director Santiago Miter. He was a thriller that reflected Ricardo’s and Santiago’s desire to revive the legacy of fiction that is interested in disputes over institutionalized Power. Fictions that were made between the 1960s and 70s by Elio Petri, Francesco Rosi and Costa-Gavras, opening a context that, today, in your continent, is best pursued by documentarists (Silvio Tendler, Patricio Guzmán). Not by chance, the duo joined forces again in a thriller who began his career at the Venice Film Festival, in the fight for the Golden Lion.

A round of applause was heard in the Principal of San Sebastián at the end of a speech made by Darín, at a climactic point of “Argentina, 1985”, reproducing a rhetoric by public prosecutor Julio César Strassera (1933-2015). In the real facts recreated by Miter, between re-enactments of the time and the use of photos and archival images, the lawyer put his neck on the guillotine in favor of democracy, committed to condemning the high-ranking military responsible for torture in Argentine lands during the military dictatorship. The recreation of his foray into the court made Donostia cry pitchers. Laureate in Venice with the Critics’ Prize, given by the International Federation of the Cinematographic Press (Fipresci), the film premieres in its homeland at the end of the month and enters the Amazon Prime program (that is, it falls directly into the streaming) to the rest of the world on October 21. It is estimated that he will leave the Spanish event with the laurel of the popular jury given the titles of Perlak, due to his dramaturgical power.

In a search for a narrative structure of a “judicial film”, in line with primers inherited from André Cayatte’s films (“Nous Sommes Tous Des Assassins”), Miter and Darín give flesh and soul to the reconstitution of the judicial battle carried out by Strassera, from October 1984 to May 1985, to do justice to the executioners of the uniformed government of Buenos Aires and surroundings, listening to victims of the Armed Forces, tortured “in the name of the law”.

Contrary to telephone threats directed at him and his children, the prosecutor went down in history as a hero of the democratic process. Darín embodies this heroism with humanity, in a dialectical way, in a performance that could get him an Oscar. In one of the best sentences, taken from the dialogues written by Miter and Mariano Llinás, Darín says: “Torture is not a political strategy. It’s moral perversion”. In Javier Julia’s photography, there is a protocol light work, but functional. Andrés P. Estrada’s production, on the other hand, breaks the rules, valuing suspense and the melodramatic dimension of heroism, in an unusual and commendable balance.

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