Argentinian cinema is one of the most advanced in Latin America and has made great strides over the past two decades, delivering a number of internationally acclaimed films. Over the years, filmmakers have been able to transcribe the events of each era through their films, and even innovate with some of their techniques and subjects. However, despite the quality of their productions, Argentina and the rest of Latin America tend to be an underrated powerhouse, and few films have crossed the borders of the region.
Thankfully, that slowly changed and Argentina got itself in the limelight at film festivals and other global institutions. In fact, seven of the country’s films were nominated for Best International Feature at the Oscars, two of which won: La Historia Oficial (The Official History) and El Secreto de sus Ojos (The Secret In Their Eyes), in 1986 . and 2010 respectively. Thus, Argentina became one of three Latin American countries to have ever won an Oscar, and the only one to have done so twice.
Last September, an Argentinian film was released on Prime Video and caused a stir at the Oscars with great chances of winning a third statuette for the country: Argentina, 1985, a historical drama film that follows the Trial of the juntas, where they sued leaders of Argentina’s last civil-military dictatorship, one of the country’s darkest periods. Less than a month after its release, the film became the most-watched film of that year in its native country and, according to Deadline, was selected as Argentina’s entry to compete in the Best International Feature Film category at the next Oscars. Here’s why it’s a must-see movie.
An essential film for Argentine history
Few Argentinian films have inspired audiences with what Argentina, 1985 has: theaters packed with moviegoers of all ages, moved to tears by memories of the darkest period in the country’s history, and given a standing ovation for let justice be served. Although far from being a documentary, this fictional film based on real events is beautifully constructed and has become a social, political and economic phenomenon that everyone continues to talk about. Argentina, 1985 follows Julio César Strassera and Luis Moreno Ocampo, the prosecutors tasked with bringing to justice the main perpetrators of the bloodiest military dictatorship in Argentina’s history, who committed practices such as kidnapping, torture and enforced disappearances of people. Before long, they must assemble a team and sift through all the evidence in order to grant the accused commanders what they have not granted their victims: a fair trial.
Considering the subject Argentina, 1985, it’s no wonder it resonated so deeply in Argentine society. But the phenomenon did not stop there: moviegoers around the world were touched by the events of Argentina’s darkest period, reconstructed through the various testimonies of survivors exposed during the Trial of the Juntas.
Ricardo Darín and Peter Lanzani: a winning pair
This Santiago Mitre production, written by him alongside Mariano Llinás, succeeded, objectively speaking, in many ways. But probably one of Argentina’s best achievements in 1985 was casting the lead players, who are a perfect combination of established and growing talent. Julio César Strassera is embodied by an emblematic figure of Argentine cinema: none other than Ricardo Darín. This exceptional actor is among the most renowned in the country, starring in El Secreto de sus Ojos, which won an Oscar in 2010, and two other Oscar-nominated films, among many others. Luis Moreno Ocampo, meanwhile, was played by Peter Lanzani, a rising actor who has become one of the most promising Argentine actors of recent years. This surprising pairing takes on its full meaning and elevates this production to the highest level. Joining Darín and Lanzani in Argentina, 1985 are Alejandra Flechner, Laura Paredes, Carlos Portaluppi, Susana Pampín, Norman Briski, Hector Díaz and Alejo García Pintos, among other actors.
Fight against movie theaters
The phenomenon that Argentina, 1985 represented for the country becomes even more important if we take into consideration a significant fact: the big cinema chains of the country refused to distribute the film. This decision has a lot to do with conditions imposed by Amazon Studios, which co-produced the film, limiting exposure in local theaters. Amazon’s business model requires the film to premiere in theaters and only run for three weeks, followed by its release on Prime Video. From then on, the film would remain available both in theaters and on the streaming platform. The big chains having rejected these conditions, the film was distributed by national and independent cinemas. Surprisingly, this boycott had a positive and unexpected result: Argentina, 1985 had a much wider national reach than the rest of the films, and public demand led theaters to reinstate schedules that had been interrupted decades ago. years.
International Festivals and Oscar Buzz
Argentina, the world premiere of 1985 was quite remarkable: it had its first screening on September 3 at the 79th Venice International Film Festival, in competition for the Golden Lion. At the festival, he won the FIPRESCI prize and a special mention of the SIGNIS prize. A few weeks later, the film screened at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, winning the People’s Choice Award. Its Argentinian premiere was on September 29, followed by a screening at the London Film Festival in October, where the production was nominated for Best Picture. The future looks very bright for this film, as it was selected as the Argentine entry for Best International Feature at the Oscars and Best Ibero-American Film at the Goya Awards. The entire nation is eagerly awaiting the production that will be selected from among the official nominees. Until then, the producers of this hit believe that their main priority right now is to work on the distribution of Argentina, 1985 so that it reaches as many people as possible in order to spread the country’s history.
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