Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Secret in their Eyes/ El secreto de sus ojos

The Secret in their Eyes

Director: Juan Jose Campanella, Argentina

Ricardo Darin, Soledad Villamil, Guillermo Francella, Javier Godino, Pablo Rago.

I went with a friend to the Angelika to see the Argentinian movie "The Secret in their Eyes" and I suggest you do the same. You will enjoy the complexity of the intertwined stories and the good acting. The theatre was packed, thanks to the Oscar the movie received for Best Foreign Film. I was so proud...I felt like shouting: Viva Argentina!!!

How many movies from my country have opened in a commercial theatre in Manhattan? Few. I remember Nine Queens which also starred Ricardo Darin, one of the leading Argentinian actors. But it's hard to find a Latin American movie playing in a theatre and the rare opportunities are usually confined to film festivals. That's why I like to promote Latin American cinema.

"El secreto de sus ojos" centers on a violent crime that took place in Buenos Aires in 1974. We get a glimpse of the political times that preceded the 1976 dictatorship. Isabelita Peron appears on a TV screen and the character of Gomez as her bodyguard caused me to have goosebumps. The movie switches from past to present portraying the country 25 years earlier. The corruption of the legal system and its consequences are at the core of the movie.

Ricardo Darin plays Exposito, a court investigator who after retiring wants to write a novel about a case that he investigated 25 years before. Soledad Villamil plays the character of his boss. Lawyer Menandez-Hastings, an attractive woman that is the love of his life, but whom he never dared to date. Argentinians can translate the name Menandez-Hastings as indicating upper class upbringing, money and power.

Campanella also depicts the urban differences among the poor who need the train or -as an irony of the film- bus 96 to reach Capital Federal coming from the poor suburbs of Laferrere, Isidro Casanova or Gonzalez Catan to work as construction workers or maids.

In a country like Argentina that has gone through six dictatorships and many financial crises in the 20th century we need to deal with many painful memories, and that is why the issue of memory is central to our lives. How we remember, what we remember, what we choose to forget, and how we deal with victims and murderers are issues still current. Just recently "The Museum of Memory" ("El Museo de la Memoria") was unveiled in Buenos Aries, at the ESMA (Escuela de Mecanica de la Armada) the largest concentration camp that functioned during the last dictatorship (1976-1983.)

For more information (in English) please visit the site:


1 comment:

  1. Secret in Their Eyes is on the Netflix SAVE list-- hopefully it will be available soon. I look forward to seeing it.