Argentina has long been known especially in the Spanish-speaking world for the quality of its film industry yet censorship and repression under the military junta in the 1970s severely curtailed Argentina’s film industry. The effects of that period carried over into the next decade, as post junta cinema largely dealt with issues surrounding what would become known as the ‘dirty war’. Despite the lack of risk in the shape and content of films from the 1980s, there were exceptions, including Luis Puenzo’s The Official Film Story (1985), which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
The 1990s marked a new phase in Argentine cinema, as the stagnation of the previous decades led a group of young directors to fight to recover their country’s cinematic identity and to show the new reality of Argentina that focused less on events of the past and more on pervasive social problems faced by everyday Argentinians. The growth of film schools in the mid-1990s and the creation of new cinema festivals as Mar de Plata and Bafici, become a platform for those new directors to showcase their works.
Whilst the directors that emerged in the 1990s are collectively considered part of the New Argentine Cinema, they are, in fact, a disparate group with particular stylistic tendencies. Yet they are linked by a determinedly contemporary, forward-looking focus, smoothly mixing reality and fiction. This new cinema is more concerned with critiquing modern Argentine society, and delves into the lives of individual characters with such realism that we can see ourselves in the small details that are common in every human being.