Crime and Punishment: Argentine Tales

Pera Film’s new season kicks off with crime and punishment stories from Argentina. Presented in collaboration with the Consulate General of Argentina, the program Crime and Punishment: Argentine Tales is a selection of staggering real-life and fictional stories of crime and criminals. Focusing on the human psyche’s borders, these narratives explore the personal and social aspects of crime within family and society in general. From political gangs to cold-blooded murders, this crime films marathon program captures humankind’s violent tendencies. The program is also a salute to Argentine star Ricardo Darín, the lead actor in most of the selected films of the program.

Kóblic | Sebastián Borensztein, 2016

1977. During the days of the Argentine military dictatorship, a pilot and navy captain, Kóblic faces a great dilemma: Following the orders and executing a group of political prisoners by throwing them into the sea from his aircraft or disobeying the orders to be a fugitive for the rest of his life. Kóblic listens to his conscience and hides in a small southern town, but his past keeps haunting him. Consciousness and violence of human nature clashes in this modern western, Kóblic, while Ricardo Darín adds yet another memorable character to his filmography.

Eva Doesn’t Sleep | Pablo Agüero, 2015

During 1950s, the turbulent years of Argentine politics, the stories of people, the military and the revolutionaries intersect around a mummified corpse. Being not an ordinary corpse, it is capable of inflaming rebellions and it is protected with a great love, respect and devotion, only to be kidnapped by the military regime and kept away for years. This corpse belongs to the beloved first-lady of Argentina, Eva Peron. With three chapters of magical, fairytale-like narrative and an experimental direction, Eva Doesn’t Sleep’s cast includes world famous stars such as Gael García Bernal and Denis Lavant.

Wild Tales | Damián Szifrón, 2014

Wild Tales is an anthology film consisting of six astonishing short stories that all depict the anger and violence of human nature. A bunch of passengers discovering ridiculous coincidences on a plane, a loan shark stopping by a small restaurant, two drivers testing each other’s limits, a demolition expert trying to get to his daughter’s birthday on time, an adolescent who hits-and-runs with his rich father’s car and a couple on their wedding day… All of their lives change with a spark of anger, all of their stories evolve into violence in unbelievable ways. Damien Szifron’s ingenious film, has brought Argentina another Oscar nomination in Best Foreign Language Film category.

Clandestine Childhood | Benjamín Ávila, 2011

It’s late 70s, Argentina is under military control. 12-year-old Juan’s family, like many other who oppose, has had to live away from their homeland for years and now they are back. Doubting whether they are being followed by the government, they still feel forced to change names and places frequently. This lifestyle on pins and needles, affects Juan too, who is known as Ernesto among his friends. Starring Natalia Oreiro, who is well-known with her roles in famous telenovelas, Clandestine Childhood tells the story of Juan, who needs to sacrifice his childhood to help his parents survive.

Carancho | Pablo Trapero, 2010

Every year, more than 8.000 people die in traffic accidents in Argentina. These deaths, bringing pain for many loved ones, mean only one thing for some people of the dark and corrupt system: Money. Although seeming to be a helping hand for the victims, Sosa is a lawyer specialized in traffic accidents, “a vulture” with dark connections. Lujan on the other hand, is an idealist doctor who just arrived in the city. As one tries to save lives, the other hunts for customers. And when love flares up between the two, Sosa’s dark past will be the biggest obstacle. Carancho (Vulture) was awarded Best Film by the Argentinean Film Critics Association.

The Man Next Door | Mariano Cohn & Gastón Duprat, 2009

It all starts with a sledgehammer opening a hole on the dividing wall between two houses. On one side of the wall lives Leonardo, a designer who lives in a luminous house with glass walls. The man next door is the used cars salesman Victor, a dark man living in a dark house. Victor insists on opening a window on the divider wall and Leonardo insists on protecting his privacy. Tension increases and the problem becomes more and more irresolvable. The Man Next Door is directed by the duo Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat of last year’s acclaimed comedy The Distinguished Citizen.

The Secret in Their Eyes | Juan José Campanella, 2009

It is 1999, but retired federal agent Benjamín Espósito is stuck in the 70s. He has been obsessed with an open case of rape and murder and with the excuse of writing a fiction novel on it, he revisits the past – only to find himself trying to solve the case all over again. This sensational thriller not only unfolds past crimes and secrets one after another, but also unveils an incomplete love story, which is another reason for Benjamín to live in the past. Directed by one of the masters of Argentine cinema, Juan José Campanella, The Secret in Their Eyes achieved to be the second best-grossing film in Argentina’s history and brought home a second Oscar statue for Best Foreign Language Film.

The Headless Woman | Lucrecia Martel, 2008

On this deserted road in Argentina, it is hard to see anyone other than the poor boys and dogs playing. On the other hand, Veronica is quite confident that she passed from that road in her car, but has no idea if the thing she hit was a boy or a dog. Instead of stopping for help, she goes on her way, stopping by the hospital for an x-ray and spending the night at a hotel. She says she was in shock. When she gets back to normal, she decides to return to the road and check the newspapers. But how about the records in the hospital and the hotel? The Headless Woman tells the mental disturbance of a middle-aged, middle-class woman who deals with the burden of a crime, although she is not sure if she has committed it.

The Aura | Fabián Bielinsky, 2005

This neo-noir psychological thriller sets in Patagonia, tells the dark journey of an ordinary man who fantasizes about the perfect heist all his life. Esteban, who rents a hunting cabin in the woods with his friend, accidentally kills the owner. Incidentally, he also discovers that the man he killed was literally planning the perfect heist. Aura, where fantasies become reality and where dreams turn into nightmares, reunites director Fabián Bielinsky and actor Ricardo Darín after Nine Queens.

Nine Queens | Fabián Bielinsky, 2000

A conman caught by the police while pulling off a bill-changing scam is wisely freed by another and this operation bears a partnership in crime that will aim bigger: Marcos and Juan decide to sell a forged set of rare stamps that are highly valuable, “The Nine Queens”. This breathtaking crime story, where it becomes more and more difficult to figure out who is conning whom, introduces its audience to various characters, thieves, conmen and pickpockets. Rapidly becoming one of the classics of Argentine cinema, The Nine Queens was remade for Hollywood in 2004 by the name Criminal as well as being used as a basis for three Indian films.

See Pera Film website for details.