Santiago Miter introduced himself more than ten years ago with the interesting drama “El estudiante” about a perpetual student who will be intrigued by politics, and now he has made by far the most ambitious film. The historical court drama that thematizes probably the most famous trial in the history of Argentina premiered in the main program of Venice and won the film critics award there, and “Argentina, 1985” is also a candidate for the Oscar and the Goya award for the best Latin American film there. As the title of the film suggests, the action of the film takes place (mostly) in 1985, a few years after the military junta dictatorship was overthrown. Argentina has become a democracy again, but the ghosts of the past still haunt the country and supporters of the right-wing dictatorship are still powerful.
Ever since the military junta was overthrown, it has been shyly demanded that the head of the army, who was also the head of the state in the period from 1976 to 1983, be brought to court, but no one dares to do so. No one, until the experienced prosecutor, pragmatic Julio Strassera (the most famous Argentinian actor Ricardo Darin) and the young idealist Luis Moreno Ocampo (Peter Lanzani), a lawyer who comes from an old, military family that supported the dictatorship, appear. The rhetoric is still valid that during the dictatorship it was not so terrible, that the army only defended the citizens from subversive elements, and all the tortures, murders, disappearances of people are still pushed under the carpet. And it will turn into the biggest trial in the country’s history, and besides the fact that the entire social elite is against rummaging through the recent past, Strassera, Ocampo and the young team they will assemble are in a race against time because they have been given an extremely short deadline to gather evidence.
And when the trial starts, it will turn out that they managed to find really creepy and terrible evidence and testimonies about what happened a few years earlier, and when a man hears all this, he simply has to be furious. One has to wonder how something like this is even possible, and it is a film with a strong humanistic note and a reminder that such horrible crimes should not go unpunished as they did in most cases. And although practically all South American countries went through some form of dictatorship and military junta rule during the 20th century, Argentina is the only one of these countries that has implemented this process.
However, we will see that it will not be easy at all because the prosecution will not only be faced with obstructions, attempts to sabotage the trial and various subterfuges, but Strassera and Ocampo will also experience direct death threats. Miter brilliantly managed to portray the historical circumstances of that time and revive the mid-eighties, and it is obvious that “Argentina, 1985” was a very expensive production, but that investment was well justified. Although we could already see court dramas that were once extremely popular in Hollywood, Miter managed to achieve a good dynamic, relationship between the characters, and at the same time get a strong emotional effect.