Film Review I Cecilia Sánchez-Harris The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Dir. Muñoz and Portillo (Argentina, 1985)
The Mothers Clamour for Justice
This film, of the New Latin American Cinema is in a documentary form and its intention is to inform, educate, as well as denounce and raise the consciousness of the public that watches it, regarding the abuses and violations of human rights that were perpetrated in Argentina during the years between 1976 and 1983, during which repressive military governments took over power as all-powerful and oppressive dictatorships. The principal subjects of this documentary, are the mothers of all the young people, all those hundreds and hundreds of men and women who were taken
prisoners by the military and never seen again. The mothers in this documentary are shown clamouring and protesting in the Plaza in Buenos Aires and they demand to know their sons' and daughters' whereabouts, after they disappeared from their homes, at a very critical and tragic moment in the political life of Argentina; a period in its history that was called, "The Dirty War." As a result of a personal and human crisis, this film presents the mothers organized as a group of women who share their common suffering, and which goes under the name of 'The Mothers of the Plaza.' As a group, they are determined, with almost an obsessive drive, to risk it all at one point when they first gathered, and at present to continue to meet religiously every Thursday at the same time, carrying placards with their sons and daughters' photos on them. They want in this way to make it known publicly to the citizens of Argentina as well as to the whole world, their passionate plea to the present government, to investigate where their disappeared children went, as well as the children of their daughters' who were born in captivity. It is a documentary that shows how the mothers are imploring for justice to be done, and to judge the guilty ones so that there is no impunity for those who were involved and perpetrated such crimes. It is through testimonials that the mothers declare with intensity of feeling and deep sincerity, their sad and heart-rending stories, of those moments they lived when their children, sometimes in their own presence, were apprehended by the military and taken away to never come back. These are the most moving declarations in the form of monologues, that take the audience by surprise and leave us with tears in our eyes. It is a film that has to be seen, and the likelihood is that it will not leave many people indifferent with what they see
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