The Best Documentaries About Argentina to Watch

The moody setting of a documentary in Argentina
The moody setting of a documentary in Argentina | © Nicolas Alejandro / Flickr
Photo of Sorcha O'Higgins
28 March 2018

Argentina has a tumultuous history, full of crises, slaughter and corruption. There are many films that dramatise certain aspects of Argentina’s history, but anyone looking for some real insight into the trying times Argentina has experienced is better served by checking out some documentaries. There are also some great things to watch that chronicle Argentine culture. We check out some of the best documentaries about Argentina.

Memoria del Saqueo (2004)

A protest in Buenos Aires | © Hernán Piñera / Flickr

This 2004 documentary was given the title “Social Genocide” in English, which gives us a clue as to the direction the film takes. Over the course of 120 minutes, this documentary takes the viewer through the various stages of Argentina’s more recent history to tell us how Argentina’s economic demise came about. A fascinating watch for anyone who wants to know how Argentina became so economically unstable after the fall of the military dictatorship in 1983, and the events that led to the country’s crippling economic crisis in 2001.

Anthony Bourdain – Parts Unknown, Buenos Aires (2016)

Celebrity chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain took his particular brand of travel and food show to the Argentine capital in the eighth season of his Parts Unknown series. Upon landing in Buenos Aires, Bourdain branches out from food into the culture of psychoanalysis, thus providing viewers with a window into the popular Argentine pastime of therapy, something which many visitors to Argentina don’t know about. Of course he also eats and drinks his way through the capital, and the whole experience makes for some riotous viewing.

Gauchos del Mar (2012)

Surfers and thrill-seekers will be seriously into this documentary. It chronicles three adventurous brothers who decide to trek into the Patagonian wilderness at the end of the world in Tierra del Fuego to catch some elusive waves out in the extreme Atlantic. Their goal is to ride the legendary wave off Cape San Diego Lighthouse, the most easterly point on Peninsula Mitre, but one which is unreachable by car. So they set off on foot across this wild no-man’s land, and you’ll have to watch the movie to find out what happens next.

Zonda (2015)

Argentine folklore | © Administración Nacional de la Seguridad Social / Flickr

Anyone interested in learning more about Argentine folklore music should watch Zonda. This audio-visual delight invites viewers into the world of Argentine folklorico, both in terms of the music and the dancing. Prepare to lose yourself in a spectacle of fantastic proportions.

Nazi Gold in Argentina (2004)

Argentina’s Nazi past is no secret, and Nazi gold is something of lore in this part of the world. This documentary, which can be viewed on Netflix, explores Argentina’s relationship to Nazism, as well as constructing a narrative around how the Nazis transferred tonnes of money in cash to Argentina before the war that was used for propaganda and spying.

The Falklands War – The Untold Story (1987)

Although in Argentina you would cause serious offence by referring to Las Islas Malvinas as the Falkland Islands, this documentary should be watched regardless of its title. Produced five years after the end of the Falklands War, it presents the war itself and attitudes towards it from both English and Argentine perspectives.

Messenger on a White Horse (2017)

The headscarves of the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo | © McKay Savage / Flickr

This gripping documentary tells the story of a British journalist in Buenos Aires who became the unlikely champion of the struggle against the fearsome military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. Bob Cox was the editor of the Buenos Aires Herald, Argentina’s only English-language newspaper, and was both a confidante and spokesperson for the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who were protesting the disappearance of their children.

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