BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – Less than three months after Argentina won its third soccer World Cup trophy in Qatar, excitement is growing about the possibility that the country could take home another big prize — an Academy Award. Is.
A win at Sunday’s ceremony for “Argentina, 1985” would be the country’s third win at the Oscars, a nice addition for the country as it continues to enjoy its soccer triumph.
“Argentina, 1985” tells the story of prosecutors who brought the leaders of Argentina’s bloody 1976-1983 military dictatorship to trial and is competing for Best International Film. It has been a box-office hit and an important reminder of how the country is grappling with the crimes of a dictatorship that claimed thousands of lives. And its award season run has once again brought positive attention to Argentina.
“After the World Cup win, it’s a great pleasure,” the film’s star Ricardo Darin said in Spanish at January’s Golden Globe Awards, where it won best non-English language film.
Darrin plays Julio Cesar Strassera, the lead prosecutor trying to bring the dictatorship’s leaders to justice.
In a recent interview, he said that while he was joking at the Globes, he believed that Argentines felt “great joy” when the film was nominated for an Oscar.
“Given that we are still in the World Cup dynamic and need to celebrate, this adds to the fervor of the celebration,” he said.
One of those joining in that enthusiasm is Argentine football superstar Lionel Messi, captain of the World Cup-winning team, who called “Argentina, 1985” a “great movie” in a social media post last month, before adding : “Let’s go for it” the third.”
Director Santiago Mitter says that although the Oscars and the World Cup are unrelated, the two events have succeeded in uniting a normally polarized society around the success of his film.
“There is a desire for reconciliation,” Mitter said in an interview at his home in the Argentine capital, “from politics and from the media, to reconcile this forced division that has taken place for so many years.”
There is also an appetite for any good news in a country with a bitterly divided political landscape. The country has been mired in economic recession for years, with nearly four in 10 living in poverty and an annual inflation rate of nearly 100%.
People queue outside cinemas during the main theatrical release of “Argentina, 1985”. It is now available on Amazon Prime Video and faces stiff competition from another international streaming release from Netflix called “All Quiet on the Western Front”. The German film is considered the leader in the category, which also includes Poland’s “Eau”, Belgium’s “Close” and Ireland’s “The Quiet Girl”.
Argentina’s last military dictatorship is widely regarded as the deadliest of the military regimes that gripped much of Latin America in the 1970s and ’80s. Human rights organizations say that some 30,000 people were illegally detained and disappeared without a trace.
The manner in which Argentina prosecuted its dictators immediately after the return of democracy in 1983 makes the country unique among many others that transitioned to democratic rule during this period.
Nearly 800 witnesses testified during the four-month trial. Some of his words are used in the film to highlight the horrors of dictatorship.
For many, the film marked the first time they heard some shocking testimony, including that of Adriana Calvo, who detailed how she was illegally detained when she was seven months pregnant and forced into the back seat of a patrol But was forced to give birth by handcuffing. car.
Mitter said, “I feel very sad when I see a 17-year-old kid who compares the democratic moments of the country with the moments of dictatorship.” “And what does that tell you? That they don’t know or they forgot what happened during the dictatorship and the brutality of the dictatorship and how difficult it was for society to build a democracy.
The trial ended with life sentences for two prominent dictatorship figures, three others were sentenced to years in prison while four were acquitted. Amnesty laws later nullified the sentence and blocked justice for most dictatorial crimes until they were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2005.
The younger generation’s questioning of the importance of democracy extends beyond Argentina and Latin America, said Luis Moreno Ocampo, assistant prosecutor at the 1985 trial, who is played in the film by Peter Lanzani.
In this case, Moreno Ocampo said, the US Capitol was attacked on January 6, 2021, by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, and the Brazilian Congress more recently, on January 8, 2023, by supporters of the country’s former President Donald Trump. was attacked. President Jair Bolsonaro.
Moreno Ocampo, who became the first prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for nearly a decade and now, “shows the importance of making this film, at a time when this new generation takes democracy for granted and sees its flaws.” Said lives in Malibu, California. “And the film shows that the alternative to democracy is dictatorship.”
One of the film’s key scenes involves the mother of Moreno Ocampo, a dictatorship sympathizer who comes from a military family and was deeply skeptical about the 1985 trial until she hears Calvo’s testimony and changes her mind. For the former prosecutor, that too has an important message for the present.
“We live in a world of echo chambers, we don’t talk to people who think differently from us. I think we have to understand what happened in Brazil on January 8th, the people who went to the Capitol on January 6th What happened with that. Why do those people do what they do?” Moreno Ocampo said. “Understanding those who think differently is the only way to live in a democracy. Democracy is not about living with friends.”
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