The last few decades have seen some incredible productions come out of the Argentine film industry, with a number of intelligent and thought provoking pictures earning awards at international film festivals, as well as the hearts of the local population. These films offer a great insight into the culture and psyche of the people, telling compelling stories that are both entertaining and captivating. If you have time to watch just five, check out the following titles.
Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens)
This 2000 box office hit is widely regarded as an Argentine classic. It tells the story of two con artists attempting to pull off the biggest swindle of their lives by selling a counterfeit copy of some priceless stamps to a wealthy collector. The thrilling crime story provides a fascinating insight into Buenos Aires’ underworld, including some of the scams tourists should look out for when visiting the city. Loved for its excellent performances, especially the lead and homegrown favorite Ricardo Darin, there are enough plot twists to keep the audience captivated until the very end.
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El Secreto De Sus Ojos (The Secret In Their Eyes)
After winning an Oscar in 2009 for best foreign language film, The Secret in their Eyes became one of the country’s most successful films abroad. The crime thriller casts Ricardo Darin as a retired legal adviser who is writing a novel about the most troublesome unsolved murder of his career. The cold case still affects him deeply, as does his unrequited love for a former colleague, so he revisits the crime to try and gain some closure.
Un Novio Para Mi Mujer (A Boyfriend for my Wife)
Undoubtedly Argentina’s best romantic comedy, A Boyfriend for my Wife provides an insight into the Argentine woman, love and relationships with plenty of laughs along the way. The film is about a man who wants to divorce his overly demanding wife, but just doesn’t have the guts. Rather than face up to his fears, he hires another man to seduce her so he can justify filing for divorce. Hilarity ensues.
La Historia Oficial (The Official Story)
An Oscar winner in 1985 and one the country’s most significant films, The Official Story deals with Argentina’s dark past of dictatorship and genocide. A young child questions the motive behind her adoption as she learns in school that many orphans her age were the children of parents killed by an oppressive former regime. As it becomes more apparent that her parents could have been victims of the country’s Dirty War, she starts to doubt her foster parent’s ‘Official Story’ and attempts to find out the truth on her own.
El Aura (The Aura)
Best described as a neo-noir psychological thriller, The Aura tells the tale of a rather cynical epileptic taxidermist who has always fantasized about committing the perfect crime. These fantasies become an obsession as he convinces himself he is capable of outsmarting the police where others have failed. A freak accident during a hunting trip in Patagonia sets off a chain of events that see his fantasies become reality.
Relatos Salvages (Wild Tales)
A 2014 dark comedy with a significant point of difference, Wild Tales is actually comprised of six different standalone short films rather than a single narrative. Each film contains similar themes of violence and revenge, demonstrating what can happen when people are pushed to breaking point. Staring an ensemble cast of Argentine favorites, Wild Tales is an exciting and funny movie that is worthy of its Academy Award nomination.
El hijo de la novia (Son of the Bride)
Son of the Bride is a 2001 drama/comedy starring Argentine favorite, Ricardo Darin. This touching film does a fine job of examining themes of family and relationships, earning it a nomination for an Academy Award. It follows the life of a man, played by Darin, who is forced to reevaluate his life after suffering a near fatal heart attack. He must reconsider where his priorities lie and make some crucial decisions regarding his love life, the relationship with his parents and his career.
Pizza, birra, faso (Pizza, Beer and Smokes)
This 1998 drama film is credited by some as being the film that renewed the spark in the Argentine film industry after a slump in the 1990s. It tells the story of a group of impoverished teenage outcasts in a lower-class Buenos Aires neighborhood. The mismatched gang have all left home and live together in a squat, committing crimes on a daily basis in order to survive. One of the group is pregnant and worries about the future of her child so she gives her boyfriend an ultimatum, straighten up or I’m leaving, but things don’t quite go to plan. It’s a gritty, hard-hitting story that provides an insight into Buenos Aires’ underclass.
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