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Julio De Grazia
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Juan lives in clandestinity. Just like his mum, his dad and his adored uncle Beto, outside his home he has another name. At school, Juan is known as Ernesto. And he meets María, who only has one name. Based on true facts, set in the Argentina of 1979, this film is "one about love". Written by
This review is written by an Argentinian so I felt it as a very interesting film in terms of script and acting, but more interesting as a historical testimony of our "dark ages" in terms of dictatorship and guerrilla. It would be fair to write the review in Spanish in order to put my feelings properly, but IMDb is mostly an English language site so I want to give other people from foreign countries my point of view with the little English I speak.
From my perspective, the movie is accurately told in terms of storyline. I would recommend it as a documentary, because Benjamín Avila relived his own experience on this movie, and because most of the facts really happened (with the names changed and that sort of thing).
The fact that underlines the tragic story of Juan/Ernesto, is that he is, as a child, forced to live in a world of fear, constantly missing what we think a normal childhood should be. His parents are loving ones but put him in abnormal situations in terms of caring for their livings and raise their children in those violent conditions. In fact, the story of the 70's here was that fearful and violent. You are obliged to take a part in the story. That's what the film left me. It's a thought- provoking one. And asks a lot of questions more than it tells answers.
Ernesto Alterio (very good in his role) as Tío Beto is the bond of Juan/Ernesto to a happy childhood; but even with knowing how his life could end from one moment to another, tried to remind Juan/Ernesto and the rest of the family, those little moments of humanity that could have been forgotten in the middle of tragedy. There is plenty of humanity, but that feeling is volatile and more close to self-indulgence than true happiness, knowing the curse of events.
On the other hand, the guiding line of Juan/Ernesto's family is that he 'd become one of their "soldiers" when he'd grown up. Rootless, full of hate for losing one by one his loved ones, Juan/Ernesto becomes an adult from one day to another.
But this review is not complete if I don't give you a personal opinion of the whole situation.
Ideologies, partidisms, dogma, they all conceived death as a part of them. During the movie I often compared the situation with Islamic children (or whoever is forced to live in war since a child). They are children, and they are manipulated taking part on massacres, kidnaps, war and dismemberance of their families. They are brutally witnessing the grown-ups stupidity, the absurd sacrifice. Yes, it was absurd then and it's absurd now. And that's the thing with the title of this review. Even a kid could realize the barbarism, the destruction of life that is presented in the movie. Unfortunately there is little room for choice.
I'm not in position to judge the events since I was born after the dictatorship. I'm a son of democracy (whatever that means) and those stories are told to me, but fortunately I didn't have to live those tragic times. But I feel sorry for those kids who had a sad childhood and couldn't choose for a better life. And I blame the dictatorship as well as the contraire ideologies that put them in those awful and despicable situations.
Coming back to the movie, it's a must. Even if you're not Argentinian. It's beautiful and a bit surrealistic. And it makes you think that some things can never be repeated for our children's sake.
Greetings from Argentina!
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