Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB
Original title: La Historia Oficial
Argentina, 1985. Historias Cinematograficas Cinemania, Progress Communications. Screenplay by Aida Bortnik, Luis Puenzo. Cinematography by Felix Monti. Produced by Marcelo Pineyro. Music by Atilio Stampone. Production Design by Abel Facello. Costume Design by Ticky Garcia Estevez. Film Editing by Juan Carlos Macias.
The cream of the crop when it comes to South American cinema, this Argentinian masterpiece is probably the greatest politically motivated film of the eighties. Norma Aleandro is outstanding as a history teacher whose understanding of her country’s past is impersonal and strictly related to the events documented in her textbooks. This all changes when she begins to suspect that her adopted daughter might actually be the child of one of the many university students who were tortured and murdered during the country’s “Dirty War”. Aleandro makes inquiries and chases an empty paper trail in order to find answers, but all she gets is slammed doors and silent witnesses who won’t help her in any way. When even her husband won’t talk about where and how he acquired their little girl, it takes her down a path of realization, both of her country and of herself, that she can never come back from. This film crackles with suspicion and fear, all impressively fleshed out by first-time director Luis Puenzo, who also co-wrote the excellent screenplay.
Academy Award: Best Foreign Language Film
Nomination: Best Original Screenplay
Cannes Film Festival Award: Best Actress (Norma Aleandro) (tie)
Golden Globe Award: Best Foreign Film