|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Eva Duarte Peron, that mythical figure larger than life, was a
controversial woman during her lifetime. According to who one listens
to, she was either a saint, adored by the humble classes, or a devil
that manipulated her way to the top, taking millions away from the same
people she was trying to help.
"Eva Peron", the biopic about her life, presents her in a good light. The screen play by Jose Pablo Feinmann treats her as though she was a misunderstood person who was at odds with the oligarchy of Argentina, who hated her because they saw in her a wild opportunist who was ruthless with the enemies she made along her way to the top. In fact, nothing is made out of the many people that Eva was instrumental in driving them out of the country, as was the case with many legitimate artists that couldn't work after the Perons came to power.
Basically, Eva Peron was a determined woman. She saw what illegitimacy did to her mother and family. She escaped to Buenos Aires because she saw herself as an actress, something that never happened because she had no talent. Instead, she attracted a military man who proved to be the best thing that happened to her. By joining forces with Juan Peron, she was elevated to the role she tried to play all her life, but no one would cast her in it: the first lady of the nation!
Eva, if we are to believe what Mr. Feinmann wrote about her, totally dominated the relationship as she "wore the trousers" in the Casa Rosada, for all practical purposes. Eva Peron understood the power of reinvention. She went from an obscure third rate radio and film actress into the model of generosity as she had the final word in everything that mattered in the country. By creating her foundation to help the "shirtless", as she called the poor, she became her own best creation.
One thing comes clear in the film: Eva Peron hated the rich classes. She was a bastard in a land where illegitimacy was a sin. It is clear that by pretending to be with the poor she was perceived as a saint. At the same time, she lived in luxury that dazzled the same classes she advocated to be the leader. By dying Eva became an even larger mythical figure and became immortal.
Juan Carlos Desanzo directed well paying attention to a visual style of the times when Eva lived. The best thing is Esther Goris, who as Eva Peron, makes this legend come alive in front of our eyes. Ms. Goris bears an uncanny resemblance to her character, and her mannerisms, evoking a bygone era with tremendous panache. Ms. Goris' Eva is full of 'earthy' talk, as befitting a woman of her background. Victor Laplace is also good as Juan Peron.
The only thing that doesn't come across in the film is the love Juan felt for his wife, as the movie only concentrates on how Eva was instrumental for the success of Peron and his followers in Argentina.
This Argentine feature was release around the same time as Alan
Parker's film version of the hit musical "Evita". For those interested
in learning about Argentina's controversial first lady, I recommend
both films. Desanzo's version is lower-budget and therefore not as
spectacular as Parker's interpretation, but "Eva Perón" is more
historically accurate and fair in it's treatment of Evita. At least
when compared to what has been written about her in a historical
The film deals with the final stages of Eva Perón's life. It chronicles her bid for the vice-presidency and her illness in detail. Other stages of her short life, childhood, artistic years, etc, are seen in flashbacks.
My only (minor) complaint lies with, surprisingly, Esther Goris. I say surprisingly because her performance is great (more on this a little later) and she does resemble Eva Perón during her final stages but when playing the younger Eva Duarte de Perón or the actress Eva Duarte, Goris doesn't even come close in her resemblance. Maybe it's because I have seen one too many pictures of the historical woman pre-1950 (before her disease) and the differences in physical appearance are too apparent. The real Eva's beauty was more radiant, her hair more elaborate and her body was more voluptuous in those earlier years. Goris is too thin, to abrasive and does not possess the softness that is evident in pictures or newsreel footage of the young Evita during her earlier years as the First Lady. I usually have difficulties watching a bio-film when the leading actor does not resemble the person they are portraying. I had a similar problem with Leonardo DiCaprio portraying Howard Hughes in "The Aviator".
Goris's voice and personality are also too over-bearing. Granted, the real Eva, according to many, was just that and her voice was indeed shrill when giving her impassioned speeches on the balcony of the Casa Rosada but during her less intense speeches and moments such as speaking to her Descamisados over the radio, her voice was calm and peaceful. According to those who knew her best, she also had a sweet and gentle side to her. That's not really seen in this film. Eva Perón was a diamond with some rough edges, Goris is rough around the edges.
With that said, since Goris is portraying Eva during her final years, for the most part, she does indeed capture her essence physically and vocally and her performance is riveting. Like Madonna in Parker's film, Goris appears to have become Eva Perón and her passion for the role is evident in this performance.
Those thinking that this Argentine version will portray Eva as a saintly deity may be shocked. This interpretation portrays an Eva Perón who liked to wear nice clothes and hats but had the will of a survivor. A strong woman who talked the talk and walked the walk and was able to change, for good or bad (take your pick), an entire nation forever due to her overwhelming fire and passion. This is a much tougher Evita than in Parker's film and if Madonna's Evita and Goris' Evita would ever face off in a boxing ring, Goris' Eva would stand victorious.
Despite my above comments, Esther Goris is outstanding in her portrayal and the production as a whole is excellent. Considering the tremendous amount of misinformation about the real woman on film: "Little Mother", "Evita Peron" (starring the mis-cast Faye Dunaway) and even the rock opera, this film is a blessing. And for those, like me, who are thirsty for something more truthful to history, we finally have a film that is pretty accurate historically and unbiased in it's treatment of it's leading lady and her legacy.
7.5 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Eva Peron (1996): Esther Goris, Victor Laplace, Irma Cordoba, Christina
Banegas, Pepe Novoa, Lorenzo Quinteneros, Tony Vilas, Enrique Liporace,
Jorge Petraglia, Tony Lestingi, Leandro Regunaga, Fernando Sureda,
Carlos Roffe, Danilo Devizzia, Miguel Tarditti, Jean Pierre Reguerras,
Horacio Roca, Francisco Napoli, Ariel Bonomi, Luis Herrera, Joselo
Bella, Eduardo Ruderman, Fernando Alvarez, Ramon Acuna, Manuel Roson,
Ernesto Catalan, Valeria Lorca, Dario Contartese, Gabriela Lopez, Jorge
Marino, Ines Rey, Martin Coria, Nora Mercado, Pablo Carnaghi,Enrique
Flynn, Zulema Calperin.....Juan Carlos Desanzo...Screenplay Jose Pablo
When this film by Argentine Director Juan Carlos Desanzo was released, it coincided with the American release of Andrew Lloyd Webber's film adaptation of his musical "Evita" which starred Madonna and Antonio Banderas. The film did not fare well at the box office and it unfortunately affected this brilliant film, which presents a rather half-truth version but well dramatized account of the life of Argentina's most famous first lady Eva Peron. For many reasons, this film is both good and bad. Many viewers and critics find fault with the rather bad cinematography and film editing (the look of the film is not that of a film but more of a made for TV movie) but they hardly recognize the precious quality of such aspects as the music by Jose Luis Castineira or the costume designs by Leonor Puga Sabate, as well as the art direction and production. The film was not made in a studio. Rather it was shot in various locations in Argentina, though mainly in its capital of Buenos Aires. This film is one that an authentic Argentinian film director produced and is his loving tribute to the great Eva, a woman who is still loved in Argentina. All the actors, too, are Argentine. Esther Goris stars as Eva Duarte Peron, who rose to power from humble beginnings as a struggling actress in film and radio during the early 1940's. Her romance with Juan Peron, a decorated soldier with political ambitions, leads to marriage. He becomes President and soon Eva finds herself in the center of the political arena. Argentina is suffering from a huge economic crisis and poor, working-class laborers need someone to represent them and defend their rights. Socialists, ex-Nazis and a stuffy upper-class oligarchy have all made things difficult for the poor to have a voice. Along comes Eva, who had known poverty and is now playing a new role - that of a strong, nearly dictator-like leader. She establishes the Foundation Eva Peron and raises worker's salaries, provides them with health benefits and vacations and generally defends the poor and minorities from the cruel and disdainful politics of the rich. She is a lot like a Latin Eleanor Roosevelt, far outshining her President husband. She faces discrimination, hatred and opposition from the upper classes, from the military, from Socialists and causes controversy because she's a woman and an ex-actress, a profession that was not admired at the time in Argentina and in fact linked with prostitution. Ester Goris's portrayal is that of a tough, gutsy Evita whose spirit is unbreakable. Before long, Eva Peron is offered the position of Vice President, but she acquires cancer and dies at the age of 33 in 1953. The scenes in which she undergoes unsuccessful operations and is visibly becoming worse is heartbreaking and difficult to watch, yet tough Evita battles on even when she is ill. The ending is so moving. Esther Goris resembles Eva Peron in her final years and her performance is definitely Oscar worthy (Foreing Picture). She is fearless, relentless and because she is so outspoken, she is both loved and hated. Her enemies plot her demise but we never see them triumph. Nice touches include her relationship with a homosexual wardrobe designer, who also represents a hated minority group and shares Eva's views. Victor Laplace as Juan Peron has terrific chemistry with Goris. The film is in Spanish with English subtitles. Frankly, this film can be enjoyed by two types of viewers: an audience who has seen th Webber musical and enjoyed it and wish to learn more about Eva's life and history lovers who wish to see a drama based on her life. While this film is lovely and looks realistic, it is not entirely truthful. Eva Peron was probably never as outspoken or as vigorous as Esther Goris, and certain aspects of her life are omitted (she had a Swiss bank account made from the money from her Foundatation) and the film skips her rise to power. She was in several Spanish language films and was said to be a lousy actress. The film, however, is a fine tribute to a fine woman, one who dared to be different at a time when actresses were not respected enough to become political figures. A splendid film and highly recommended.
EVA PERON was Argentina's official submission to the 1996 Oscars for Best Foreign Film. It was obviously spawned by the filming of EVITA with Madonna, in Argentina. A self-proclaimed Argentinian vesion of the "true" Eva Peron saga, (though some Argentinians will insist the not always accurate EVITA is actually closer to the truth, and more importantly, tells Eva's story more interesting) EVA PERON is no memorable epic. It suffers badly from comparison with EVITA on virtually all counts, not the least of which is the all too obvious low, low budget, which makes the film seem amateurish. Its saving grace is ESTHER GORIS. This wonderful Argentine actress makes the best of the script she was handed. Check her out in the recently release DONA BARBARA, in the title role. In that infinitely more spectacular, and better written Argentine film,(EVA PERON resembles a 60's TV theater feature, not even proper cinema) she is riveting. That performance suggests how much better EVA PERON would have been, if only the gifted Goris had been given a good script. Rent it only if you (as I and many do) want to see more of Esther Goris, or if you're a fan of Argentine cinema.
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|