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Film Critics: Today, December 13, winners from Dallas ForthWorthFCA, ChicagoFCA and Film Comment Magazine. Nominations from HoustonFCS, PhoenixCC. PhoenixFCS.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Cautiva (Captive)


Not very often I have the opportunity to see movies from Argentina, but yesterday I saw one with a story that will be hard to get out of my head. The first feature film by Gaston Biraben tells the story of a teenage girl that has her life turned upside down by a federal judge when he tells her that she’s not Cristina Quadri and her parents are not her parents. She is Sofía Lombardi.

The story is so powerful that I hardly paid attention to anything else in this movie, but this reaction tells me that the movie is well directed, well acted and generally well done… so much that the story takes over everything else.

When most of your life you have lived in countries with long history of real and “democratic” dictatorships and/or so-called “civil wars” you tend to harden yourself and try consciously and unconsciously to avoid exposure to the many terrible stories left behind by those atrocious times. But have to admit that I met several Argentineans and Chileans that have left their countries, live somewhere else and told me their own personal stories and gee, this movie just brought all those stories back and make me think about the “new” stories that I have been avoiding to know.

But today I’m acknowledging (mostly to myself) that these stories exist and are painful to know them and worst to watch them. Even if I’m going to tell some mild spoilers I’m going to tell more about this story as is one that the world has to know about.

During the late ‘70s thousands of people “disappeared” during one of the most ruthless Argentinean dictatorship. As normally happens in life some of the women that “disappeared” were pregnant and authorities allow them to give birth before they terminated their lives. Most of the newborn babies were “adopted, acquired, purchased or kidnapped” (you choose the word that suits you better) by officials from the government authorities. New parents have valid paperwork, the kids have valid ID’s and they are absolutely unaware from where they come from.

This movie based on a real life story, tells about Cristina who finds that she’s one of only 74 children that have gone back to their real blood relatives and you can imagine how finding your true identity plus the terrible facts behind your parents death and the implications of your “adoptive” parents with whom you have lived your whole life and you love, have in any person and much more in a young mind.

I should say that is not an easy movie to watch but no it is quite easy to watch, easy and painful. The movie did the festival circuit and had 5 wins and 6 nominations in festivals allover the world.

I absolutely recommend this movie to everyone in the world.

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