Academy award winner that looks at the effect of the Argentine dirty war and its missing children of 'the disappeared' in both a personal and broad context. Norma Aleandro is quite brilliant here in her Cannes winning role as a mother and professor who realizes her adopted daughter may have come to her in less than savory ways. The mark the war left on both sides of the divide is well captured.
This reminds me of the time I saw The Notebook when, against my best efforts not to succumb to the cheap, manipulative storyline, I did cry at the "love beats alzheimer" scene. Similarly, this soapy, almost exploitative take on the damages caused by the dirty war managed to make me feel desperately angry. But, unlike The Notebook, I think this film is necessary to reach an audience that doesn't react to subtlety.
Luis Puenzo nos ofrece la visión interior de la incertidumbre provocada por la dictadura en Argentina, en carne de una familia ligada al oficialismo: una maestra que enseña la historia hecha a modo que está casada con un agente del gobierno, con una hija adoptada en momentos en los que el pueblo despertaba ya de la vejaciones cometidas por el fascismo. Con actuaciones convincentes y una historia que estremece.
Una historia que a la distancia suena, a pesar del tiempo transcurrido, más vigente que nunca. Es también una lección de historia que pudo ocurrir en cualquier lugar de Latinoamérica y que en suerte le tocó a la Argentina vivirla, padecerla y en casi ninguno de los casos, superarla, tal y como ocurre en toda dictadura o regímenes totalitarios que temen a la libertad y que se sostienen a pesar de su pueblo
El tema de los hijos de los desaparecidos que fueron entregados o vendidos a familias pudientes durante la última dictadura argentina, tocado con gran humanidad y dramatismo. Una película admirable y casi perfecta (quizás la música peca de excesivamente melodramática).
One of those movies that leaves you speechless because it builds up such a strong emotional tension that sort of implodes in the end. The adoptive mother’s moral cul-de-sac is devastating and portrays brilliantly the whole human tragedy caused by the junta in Argentina (and elsewhere). “The Official Story” is like a text book example on how to combine the personal with the public in order to create a powerful story.
"Horror seeps into the elegantly persuasive and haunting Argentine film The Official Story in the most unexpected fashion. What follows is Alicia's lonely, determined search for the truth--and the outcome of her efforts is not a solution but another question." - Sheila Benson, LA Times. You don't have to know Argentine history to appreciate the nuanced performances, skilled direction or invoked moral complexities.
Great foreshadowing with the little girl singing in the tub at the beginning "In the land of I don't remember I take three steps and I'm lost." The friend talking about being tortured says "I felt something inside me was broken. I don't know if it can be fixed." The birthday party scene with the clown putting the needle in the balloon and later asking if he should put it in the bird's head while the one boy screams.
What makes this film soar is that it's as much a personal story as a political one. Is it moral to raise an adopted child without knowing the parents' wherabouts? Especially in Argentina, where anyone seen as opposing the government was "disappeared." The political strafing has affected all in this film, both the government hunters and the hunted. On par with Z, Missing and other similar films.
This is the way to portray fascists. Straightforward. Human portrayal of a society torn and traumatized by political forces without veering into melodrama. All the more remarkable for having been made during the years of the very military regime it depicts. Not didactic yet not afraid to take a firm stance. Some heart-wrenching scenes: father, son, mother, friend. Subtle portraiture. Can’t say enough.