I watched five Argentinian films concerning the disappeared (desaparecidos) in the “Dirty War” from 1970 – 1983. Below I will give a few impressions of the films. I hope the list inspires others to explore.
These are my first Argentinian films — I enjoyed their dialect of Spanish. An Argentinian colleague recommended “The Official Story” when we discussed the Dirty War. This is actually the first time I reviewed this history since my Marxist days back in grad school. I was amazed at how much I forgot. I tried to read wiki articles on the Dirty War while watching the films but since I know very little Spanish, it was impossible since I needed to read to subtitles. So I would pause the films to read so that I could inform myself enough to feel the films more deeply.
The first two films I watched both had a well-off, junta-connected family who have a daughter which they were complicit in confiscating from an executed young leftist woman.
(1) In La Historia Oficial (The Official Story, 1985), the mother of the child, ironically a history teacher, begins to finally let herself question where her own adopted daughter came from and searches for her family. Interesting film – I enjoyed it.
(2) In Cautiva (Captive, 2005), in this film the child discovers here identity via a court used by her authentic family. The actresses are too sexy — an unnecessary shower scene of young girls illustrate this cheap aspect of the film. It was OK, but the cheap aspect was insulting.
(3) Imagining Argentina (2004) was nauseating for me because it centered around a psychic (Antonio Banderas) who helped locate the missing. Poor acting with actors speaking English with Spanish accents — really poor taste.
(4) Chronicle of an Escape (2006) was a very good film. It is the true story about a group of kidnapped leftists and the few who survived — I won’t tell you how. You don’t learn much about the dirty war, just this drama. It hurts to watch the torture — so don’t watch it to learn about the war — all you learn about is pain, isolation and fear.
(5) The Disappeared (2007) Told us about the dirty war through one individual. The film dragged on for me and seemed a bit too involved with the individual telling his story. Something about it I did not like.
Sorry, this is not a polished post, and I am not the movie reviewing type, but I thought a few people may find it helpful.