Wednesday, October 24, 2012

724. La historia oficial/The Official Story (1985)

Running Time: 112 minutes
Directed By: Luis Puenzo
Written By: Aida Bortnik, Luis Puenzo
Main Cast: Norma Aleandro, Hector Alterio, Analia Castro, Chunchuna Villafane, Hugo Arana


Holding off on the horror movies and with nothing else left to review from my "At Home" pile, from Netflix, I had no other option but to turn to their streaming section and select a film. Luckily, they're currently streaming "The Official Story", a movie I already had scheduled for this season.

The film takes place five years after Argentina's Dirty War of the 1970s, a military coup that led to the disappearances of thousands of Argentinian's. In instances where pregnant women were taken, their children were often given up for adoption without their consent, to families that were willing to pay. The film focuses in on Alicia Ibanez (Aleandro), a high school history teacher and her husband Roberto (Alterio), a successful businessman. Alicia and Roberto are also the adoptive parents of Gaby (Castro), a five-year-old girl, whom Alicia starts to suspect is the legitimate child of a victim of "disappearance".  Not able to live with the fact that she took a child that didn't belong to her and through such underhanded means, she starts to question the truth. She suspects that Roberto knows the entire story, but instead of spilling his guts, he constantly tells her to not to concern herself with it.


This was a difficult one for me to get through, because, for the most part, absolutely nothing happens and come time for the credits to roll, nothing is solved and no questions are answered. It's another case of a director thinking that the anonymous ending is the artistic way to go - "let the audience decide what happens to Gaby" - when, in this case, it was the annoying way to go. In a film concerned with a mother making a choice - whether or not to find out who Gaby's real parents are and whether or not to return her to them - we should certainly see the ultimate decision and Gaby's ultimate fate. Instead, the film ends with Gaby sitting in a rocking chair, singing a song and we, the audience, never really find out what happens with her or what decisions Alicia makes. And when I say nothing happens...I mean, nothing happens. The film takes about thirty-forty minutes to establish the characters; Alicia is a high school teacher, Roberto is a successful businessman and the family is very wealthy and bourgeois. We see Alicia attend a high school reunion and spend time with an old friend and finally we see Gaby's fifth birthday part, where Alicia starts to have her doubts about Gaby's legitimacy. From there, Alicia spends almost the rest of the film asking questions like, "What if Gaby's real parents are out there?", "What happened with Gaby, who did you pay off, tell me the whole story?" and trying to track down Gaby's real family. There just isn't any progress and the whole film just seems to just sit there, like a bump on a log.

There are a few scenes that made an impact. The scene where the grandmother shows Alicia the four pictures and tells the story of her daughter (perhaps Gaby's real mother) is touching. The end, when Roberto flips out and attacks Alicia is an uncomfortable scene and one that had me taking notice, after just being bored out of my skull. I can't rag on the film THAT much, but suffice it to say that it just wasn't too good and the subject matter just didn't appeal to me. It was far too political and dealt with a piece of history that I had no prior knowledge of and no interest in and therefore, I just couldn't bring myself to enjoy this one.

RATING: 4/10  As we've seen today, you win some, you lose some...that's how this game works. I just find myself constantly hoping that the next one's a winner.


October 24, 2012  7:34pm

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