From Mary Burgan
Mary the Borderstan Movie Fan’s column on movies runs every two weeks. She is a retired professor of English and association executive. Mary’s previous reviews are listed at the end of this post.
One of the best movies playing in town these days is from Argentina. The Secret in Their Eyes/ El secreto de sus ojos (2009) is a gripping thriller, though with its shifting time lines it can be difficult to follow. But be patient; the plot will become clear by the end, though as with all good mysteries, there will be a residue of sadness after the secrets are revealed.
I think the length of the movie is a plus, for it gives the audience time to get to know the three main characters–all worth knowing and expertly played by three of Argentina’s proven screen actors. The Secret in Their Eyes won the 2009 academy award for best foreign language film.
The Secret in Their Eyes is like the very few films from Latin America that manage to break through our geographical and linguistic barriers to be shown in American theaters. I have viewed only a small percentage of them, but the ones I have seen are always interesting and frequently brilliant.
The first South American film that I became aware of was also from Argentina, and it also won the Academy Award for best foreign film of its year, 1985. The Official Story/La historia oficial was similar to The Secret in Their Eyes in that its story is tied up with the politics of Argentina in the 70s. Latin American film makers do not seem afraid of politics, though their films tend to reflect the difference that civil disorder makes in the daily lives of ordinary people, rather than preaching a lesson.