The Controversy Surrounding Argentina, 1985: Omissions and Criticisms of Raúl Alfonsín’s Role

2023-09-18 20:36:51

The actor and representative of Together for Change Luis Brandoni once again questioned the award-winning film Argentina, 1985, directed by Santiago Mitre, for “omitting the presence of Raúl Alfonsín.” This time, the criticism also included his colleague Ricardo Darín, who in addition to starring in the film as prosecutor Julio César Strassera, was part of the general production.

In an interview with Mendoza El Sol, Brandoni complained about the little role that former president Raúl Alfonsín had in Mitre’s work, which premiered in September 2022 and already has several international awards. “The Peronist boys come to make films where the presence of Raúl Alfonsín is omitted. Raúl Alfonsín does not appear for fear that people will applaud in the cinema. Peronists are capable of anything,” said the actor.

“The Alfonsín government asks the military justice system to take charge, the military justice system does not take charge and that is why Alfonsín forms CONADEP, otherwise what was he accused of? This is done because there were people who assume that extraordinary responsibility and that is why the trial is made. In the film, the military does not take charge and that’s it, the trial takes place,” the actor added in that sense.

His discontent with the film was such, Brandoni said in the interview with the Mendoza newspaper, that he preferred not to communicate with the filmmakers: “If I speak I get angry, because one day I am going to tell him: ‘how the hell did you do Ricardo (Darín) for make that movie that’s rubbish? If Alfonsín does not appear, nor does anyone who did it. They have a dirty ass and they are cowards because they did not form CONADEP because they wanted amnesty,” he concluded.

Last year, days after the premiere, Brandoni had already expressed himself in similar terms about the way in which the events in Argentina, 1985, are told. “There are some omissions that are very serious, CONADEP does not appear in the film, which “It is shameful and a lack of respect and recognition to all these people who risked their lives and did such an important task, which allowed the trial to be carried out in civil justice.”

The Strassera prosecutor’s office

The film Argentina, 1985, available on Amazon Prime Video, shows the historic task faced by prosecutor Julio César Strassera (Ricardo Darín), Luis Moreno Ocampo (Peter Lanzani) and their work team during the Trial of the Juntas.

The Strassera prosecutor’s office, as the Página/12 journalist Luciana Bertoia reconstructs, had a far from simple task: to provide evidence to convict the members of the first three Military Juntas. This was what they had agreed with the Federal Chamber: it could go wrong, it could be a jump without a network or it could work out. To do this, he had to select some “paradigmatic” cases of what the actions of the dictatorship had been among the thousands of complaints that the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (Conadep) had collected between December 1983 and September 1984. There were 709. the cases selected by the Public Ministry.

Strassera’s work team was made up of young people in their early 20s. Sergio Delgado called Carlos “Maco” Somigliana. They were the “Strassera line”. There were also those who came from the Attorney General’s side – recruited by Moreno Ocampo – such as Judith, Nicolás and Lucas Palacios. There were also, among others, María del Carmen Tucci and Mabel Colalongo, who were seasoned from working at Conadep. Javier Scipioni arrived as a student who Moreno Ocampo knew from the Faculty. He immediately joined the group and started working – without being paid, which made his colleagues joke that he was subject to a slave labor regime like in some clandestine centers.

The importance of the film

For many Argentinians it is impossible to distance ourselves from Argentina, 1985. “Because although it is a fiction based on real events, its vision has necessarily been cut and manipulated to best meet its dramatic purposes, and it will be difficult for many make that concession. It is difficult to see it in an aseptic way, without pretending that its story coincides with that of one’s own memory, because it shows facts that still occupy the central core of what it means to be Argentine in 2022. How to see a “A film that tells what you know, why were you there to witness it?” said Página/12 journalist Juan Pablo Cinelli days after the premiere.

In that impossible-to-take-distance, Cinelli said then, those who seek to use Miter’s work to carry dirty water to their mills were appearing on one side and the other: that Peronism, that Conadep, that Strassera in the dictatorship , than the two demons, than the business of human rights”. In that sense, the journalist reflected, the film “is noble, in that it limits itself to raising some doubts, to concentrate on the story of the hardest facts linked to the process itself and the investigation carried out by the team led by Strassera himself. and his deputy, Luis Moreno Ocampo, played with enormous skill by Ricardo Darín and Peter Lanzani.”

But something that characterizes Miter’s films is that he manages to leave spaces for talk and discussion beyond the screen. “With the responsibility of avoiding raising the finger” and “with no intention of his film becoming a trial against anyone else,” Miter offers a product that “can be opportunely educational for the other half of the country, which is made up of young people.” who were not there to bear witness, for whom those atrocious events are already beginning to fossilize in the history books.

Argentina, 1985 won the audience award at the 70th edition of the San Sebastian International Film Festival. In addition, it won the Golden Globe in the category of best foreign language film and was nominated in the best international film category at the 95th Academy Awards.

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