Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
There’s no shortage of films made in Argentina about the dictatorship that began following the death of Juan Peron in 1974, and this one is a worthy entry among them (it’s also produced by Luis Puenzo, whose The Official Story stands at the top of the heap). Told from the point of view of a child, it is director Benjamin Avila’s semi-autobiographical tale of a child growing up with activist parents who are always on the run from the military after returning home to their country from exile in Cuba. Juan is given a false name to use at school with his new friends and encouraged to fake an Argentinean accent (his “oyes” give away his time in Cuba), at the same time observing the conflict between his parents and his grandmother, who wants the children left with her for safety. Growing up is hard to do, but when you’re having to navigate a schoolboy crush while avoiding being executed by a corrupt government, the stakes do get a lot higher. The performances are especially terrific, the standout among them being Ernesto Alterio (son of Hector) as the mercurial uncle who has to keep reminding our young hero’s parents what they’re fighting for in the first place. This Argentinian Running On Empty is not unforgettable (Julia Solomonoff’s Sisters hit deeper), but it’s solid and satisfying with a devastating conclusion.
Historias Cinematograficas Cinemania, Habitacion 1520 Producciones, RTA Radio y Televisión Argentina, Antàrtida Produccions, Academia de Filmes, Programa Ibermedia, Televisión Española, Ancine, Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales, Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales, TV Publica Digital
Directed by Benjamin Avila
Cinematography by Ivan Gierasinchuk
Produced by Luis Puenzo, Benjamin Avila
Production Design by Yamila Fontan
Costume Design by Ludmila Fincic
Film Editing by Gustavo Giani