‘Argentina, 1985’ Tells Real-Life Superhero Story Through A Historic Lens – Contenders Film: The Nominees
The Oscar-nominated Argentina, 1985 shines a light on everyday people doing extraordinary things — real-life superheroes not unlike the fictional tales told by Marvel to much fanfare. The film’s protagonists are based on real-life people led by prosecutors Julio César Strassera and Luis Moreno Ocampo who took on an unwinable case against Argentina’s military junta for crimes against humanity and put on a fight that inspired a nation.
Ricardo Darín, who portrays Strassera in Amazon Studios’ historical drama from filmmaker Santiago Mitre, credits the crafting of a perfectly written script and layers upon layers of research for the film’s success.
“When an actor is lucky enough as I was to receive a script and a character that was so specifically designed, it made my job much easier,” Darín, described as a combination of Jimmy Stewart and Lionel Messi by producer Axel Kuschevatzky, tells Deadline during its Contenders Film: The Nominees panel. “The map and the route I had to take was perfectly designed by Santiago, even beyond the script, everything about the character and the story was clear. The duality of Julio César Strassera is contextualized by the moment he was living in and what the country was experiencing. In him, we find the bravery we needed to go ahead with a task so large and so looming, and at the same time the feelings of uncertainty that the government would allow the trials to proceed.”
Mitre admits he dedicated himself to researching the Trial of the Juntas extensively so as to not only capture the essence of Argentina in 1985, but also to sprinkle in layers of the real-life inspirations for authenticity.
“It was a very difficult thing to do and the process was very long. It took a long time to do the research and to meet all the people that were part of the trial because we wanted to be as precise as possible,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever worked on bringing to life a historical event. I think the best parts of the script that ended up in the film came from my research. What I love from Ricardo and the rest of the cast are these moments where they inject this subtle humor in many scenes. When speaking to people who knew Julio César Strassera, they remembered his unique sense of humor which is something that stayed with me. It’s not something that I would’ve imagined about him before so the research gave us a lot to work with. We wanted to show our characters as the heroes they are but to also show their humanity, and their fears.”
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Victoria Alonso, the Marvel boss and Argentina, 1985 producer, hopes viewers are able to see beyond the acting, writing and directing to take with them a lesson from the story so as to avoid history repeating itself.
“This is a movie that is important in and of itself whether you lived through this time in history or not,” Alonso said. “Having lived through it, for me it was incredibly important at some point in time in my journey as a filmmaker to be able to tell a story to remind us of what we went through. My other job is doing superhero films and this is a story about superheroes from our society — for me, that was incredibly important. I wanted to bring this story to our country, our youth to create memories and remind people so it doesn’t die in your memory. We have to continue to speak the truth to keep the justice system alive so democracy is sustained.”
Check out the panel video above.