Ricardo Darin and Peter Lanzani teamed up for the first time on film to play the pair of prosecutors who changed the history of their country. In “Argentina, 1985″, embody Julio Strassera and Luis Moreno Ocampo, those in charge of bringing the strong names of the last military dictatorship to prison.
Four decades later, the revision of this fact resonates with validity in a fragmented society. That symbolic load, accompanied by a good technical bill and auspicious passage through festivals, make the new film by Santiago Miter the new Latin American bet heading to the Oscar Awards.
– This tape proposes the exercise of memory. Why is it important for cinema to engage politically?
Ricardo Darin: Committed cinema necessarily has to define where it stands, review history and put it on the table. Although, I don’t know if it is essential that the cinema has to be compromised. I think there has to be all kinds of cinema. In this case, dealing with an issue like the one we are dealing with, must be based on seriousness, focus and respect for the facts.
Peter Lanzani: Beyond politics, it is a film that talks about emotions, about humanity. I think that’s the most important thing. Although it is a historical milestone, one gets emotional when he sees it and for me the cinema is more on that side.
– 37 years have passed since this trial and the iconic phrase “Never Again” from prosecutor Strassera’s plea. Although we live in a democracy -as in most Latin American countries- violent speeches continue to appear. Has democracy failed?
Ricardo Darin: The mistake is not democracy’s, the mistake we make, thinking that once democracy is established, everything is already resolved. It is not like this. The work is day to day. The commitment has to do with respect for human rights. When those parameters are altered, everything begins to falter and then – as one of the characters says – a crack opens, and then the others take advantage and say “you see that they can’t manage alone? They need a strong hand.”
– In that sense, to establish posture, this is a movie that will make noise
Ricardo Darin: Yes, but more than noise, hopefully it will serve the new generations, the young people. Let them know what happened and dimension this whole story. That, supported by knowing what happened, they have the clarity to protect themselves against what can happen again.
– The film explores the judicial apparatus, which usually has a minimally skeptical assessment of citizenship. Does what this film narrates show that justice can be done despite adversity?
Ricardo Darin: Yes, in addition, it shows you the number of obstacles encountered by people who have those roles. We think that because a guy is wearing a robe or standing behind a dais he’s clear enough, but they’re human beings. I don’t want to justify anyone, but the number of obstacles encountered in trying to be fair and just is not easy. We have a duty to demand them. But, this story interferes with the humanity of those corridors.
– The film has been well received by critics and the public. It is already said that the Oscar appears on the horizon.
Peter Lanzani: If there’s one thing we don’t know, it’s the future. We are very happy with the way we are going, very proud of the film we made, of what happens with people. At least in the short term it is to see what happens in our country, to be able to get excited with our friends and colleagues. What may come later is yapa.
– Do you think that in Latin America many times we seek legitimacy with an Oscar nomination?
Ricardo Darin: Well, we can’t be fools, the visibility provided by approaching the pin to one of those recognitions is undeniable. But, the legitimacy is given by other parameters, not by the recognition of international awards, but has to do more than anything with the people.
– The distribution of the film had some differences with the theaters in Argentina (due to the short time between the premiere and its release on the Prime Video platform). Given the new forms of audiovisual consumption, do you think that the romantic vision of cinema on the big screen is beginning to be lost?
Ricardo Darin: We are very grateful that they took an interest in our story and allowed us to do it. Hopefully it can be a starting point for the platforms to reflect, that when they allow us to tell a story that has to do with our society, they also allow the greatest number of people to see it on the screens for which it was intended. Because we all drink from the same tit, which is cinematography. Which is designed for a screen that has certain dimensions. Cinematographers, producers, actors, we are all focused on doing it in that direction.
The manager’s word
Two hours and twenty minutes, duration of the film, summarizes four years of work by director Santiago Miter (1980). The director avoids questions related to the Oscar Awards. “I don’t want to talk about it because he’s moping”, he excuses himself with a smile.
– There are many films that addressed hearings, allegations, it could be said that trial cinema is a subgenre. Did you take any specific reference for this job?
There was no direct reference, but there was an idea of working as an affiliation with a certain cinematographic classicism. By this I mean purity of line, a simple narrative, with clear characters. This tradition served us to order how this trial is told to the Military Juntas. In the investigation, elements appeared that led us to reinforce that cinematographic tradition of trial films: Strassera was like a hero in spite of himself, as if it was difficult for him to accept carrying out this fact. We also have his alliance with the young lawyer (Moreno Ocampo), then the resistance of his entourage to participate in this trial out of mistrust or fear, which makes him summon young people.
– The film will arrive through Prime Video throughout the region, but before it will be released in theaters in various countries. Addressing a fact of Argentine history, why do you think this film can work in Latin America?
Because it talks about how to deal with the wound of a dictatorship. How do you get out of a tragedy? The countries have processed their experiences of dictatorship in different ways, each one as best they could, as their society decided to do. That invites reflection. The Argentine case makes me proud, it seems exemplary to me. Nor am I going to criticize the countries that decided to leave their dictatorships behind in another way. It seems to me that it invites us to reflect on how a democracy is built, how this post-dictatorship process is thought of.
Where to see it?
The film premiered this Thursday 29 in more than 200 theaters in the Argentine territory. On October 6, it will hit our billboard and from the 21st of this month it will be available on the Prime Video streaming platform for all of Latin America.