The Official Story and the Secret in Their Eyes, a Film Comparison

Topics: The Official Story, Argentina, Buenos Aires Pages: 4 (1173 words) Published: October 27, 2012
In the films, The Secret in Their Eyes, directed by Juan Jose Campanella, and The Official Story, directed by Luis Puenzo, both directors create a revealing depiction of 1970s Buenos Aires. Although neither story takes place during the actual “Dirty War,” the subject serves as the backdrop for both films, illustrating how political turmoil has impacted society in Argentina. During this period also known as the “Holy War,” ruthless government retaliations to a growing Marxist-Leninist revolutionary movement created a climate in which “torture, kidnapping, murder, and exile became the daily round” (Galeano, 271). Perhaps as brutal as the disappearance of thousands of Argentinean intellectuals and activists was the systemic suppression of the evidence of the war’s existence. The directors both thread common themes through personal narratives to connect the audience to the untold history and context. One major theme is truth. Both plots explore the factors that determine whose stories are told and what truths are recorded. In fact, the films’ titles allude to this concept. Director Puenzo, for example, shows how successful the dissemination of the “Official Story” was through the use of his character Alicia, who despite her marriage to a member of the Argentine power elite, remains ignorant of the casualties of the Dirty war. When her husband Roberto brings home their newly adopted daughter, Gaby, he instructs her not to ask any questions about where Gaby came from. Despite the suspicious nature of his requests, she neglects to challenge the premise that the adoption is consensual, choosing to avoid a potential inconvenient truth. As the film progresses, Alicia’s naivete fades and her denial becomes more difficult. At a pivotal moment, an old friend, Ana, shares her experience of being kidnapped and tortured before her exile to Europe. Alicia eventually begins to recognize the injustices that have taken place, and that her daughter may be the child of a...

Cited: Galeano, Eduardo H. Open Veins Of Latin America, Five Centuries Of The Pillage Of A Continent. New York: Monthly Review Pr, 1997. Print.
Skidmore, Thomas E., Peter H. Smith, and James N. Green. Modern Latin America. 7. New York : Oxford Univ Pr, 2010. Print.
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