Thursday, July 5, 2012

La Historia Oficial

Awaiting the Historic Decision

Today the Tribunal Oral Federal 6 in Buenos Aires, Argentina will hand down a historic judgment in the prosecution of Jorge Rafeal Videla, the former military dictator of Argentina and 10 others on trial for 'el robo de beb├ęs'(the systematic kidnapping of babies). The case would be the first to find that there was a 'systematic plan' thus qualifying it as a crime against humanity. 

 An estimated 500 children were robbed from their parents in Argentina. This crime has become the focus of activism in the country, led by the Madres and now Abuelas de la plaza de mayo. It was also the subject matter of La Historia Oficial (1985) directed by Luis Puenzo. This was the first Latin American movie to win an Oscar. 

In the film, the central character, a married middle class woman, beings a journey in which she is led to question the ‘official story’ of the military Junta and to uncover the origins of her own adopted daughter. As she seeks to discover the ‘truth’ other stories of sexual violence, silenced in the trials of the military Junta in the 1980s, emerge. Her best friend Ana tells her that she was tortured and raped in a clandestine detention centre. The rape as torture, rape as a crime against humanity, sexual violence against men and women implicit in the film, would later be documented in Truth Commission reports and form part of the testimony of women in the ‘truth trials’. It would appear on screen graphically rather than implicitly in films such as the Night of the Pencils (1986) and Garaje Olimpo. The film is definitely worth watching.

You can read more about the Videla case in Spanish here:

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