This is one of those rare political films that transcend politics with a stirring emotional story. Argentinean first-time director Luis Puenzo tells the story of a strong-willed teacher who tries to learn the true identity... more » of her adopted daughter's father, coming to suspect that he was a political prisoner. Her political awakening is actually an emotional one as well because of her detached persona. Ironically, even though she is a teacher, she doesn't connect with people very well, thinking of history in the most abstract terms. But she learns the painful truth of present-day life. Tautly directed by Puenzo, The Official Story was a 1985 Oscar-winner for Best Foreign Film, with a riveting performance by Norma Aleandro. --Bill Desowitz« less
"As and argentinian citizen, I think this is the one of the most representative film about us, ever made. The screenplay shows in a very close way, the dark years of our history, when democracy was just a dream. Norma Aleandro and Hector Alteiro are simply perfect in their roles and the music of Atilio Stampone is oustanding. The first (and by the moment, the only) Oscar for Best Foreing Language Film, to Argentina. I'm really proud that people around the world could appreciate this magnificent film."
A flawless masterpiece
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 09/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Very few films have reached this level of excellence. This multiple award winner (Oscar, Cannes, etc.), is magnificently directed by Luis Puenzo and superbly acted by everyone in the cast (Norma Leandro is extraordinary). The beauty of the cinematography, with its sharp contrasts of red and blue, the editing, the script...it's all a marvel.One of the things this film is about is how the truth can unravel a seemingly "perfect" situation when it's based on wrong motives and actions.This film will capture you...you won't just watch it, you'll live it. Don't miss this incredibly powerful cinematic experience."
La Historia Oficial as a teaching tool
Marianna Ponti | Bolingbrook, Illinois USA | 09/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I used this film in my upper level high school Spanish class. The students, without exception, immediately became emotionally involved with the characters and the powerful story line. They could not believe this was a part of history they were not aware of and even questioned their history teachers as to why there is no mention of this in their classrooms.
Along with the movie, we did extensive research on the "desaparecidos" and they read a few real stories of children who had been "adopted" only to find out as adults that their entire life had been a lie.
What surprised my students most of all was the relatively lenient treatment the perpetrators of this heinous crime received after being found guilty.
This movie, and topic, is suitable for an upper level high school class (4th year and up). I recommend that you prepare the students beforehand by doing some research on the topic and period of Argentinian history. It would also be valuable to research the link between the military dictator of Argentina at the time and the government of the U.S."
A moving story, with subtlety, emotion, and truth.
Alejandra Vernon | 11/04/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The military juntas in Argentina had methods similar to those of Pinochet in Chile and Castro in Cuba. You will see in this movie how Argentine society wretched at the numerosity of the families suffering losses. You will see the "abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo," protesting in a way never seen before. But the uniqueness of this film lies in its portrayal of how an unlikely family finds that it, too, has fallen victim, in an unexpected way, in the wake of a secretly brutal regime.The movie is poignant in another way: very subtlely, it portrays how an average man in the government, a husband who loves his wife and daughter dearly, is himself changed, profoundly, through his association with the government (a government willing to hurt its citizens in order to battle a threatening ideology). The slow, subtle build-up of a tension that must be resolved, and the crescendo in the final scenes, are moving. In the end, in its portrayal of a particular case (Argentina), this movie holds a mirror to human nature, showing us both the depths, as well as the heights, which men and women can reach.This appears to be one of the best Argentine films made in the '80s. I think it shows that Argentine filmmaking is alive and well. If you like this movie, I would also recommend another Argentine film: Man Facing Southeast, a more reflective, philosophical movie, with a very subtle religious interrogative, probing the question of who we are as human beings."
An very good movie, a bad DVD
Alejandra Vernon | 07/20/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This movie addressed a painful issue to many Argentinans, the dissapearances during the military regime. Aleandro's excellent acting, the films story, how it evolves, the tragedy behind the emotions, the tragedy of chosing between existing bliss and justice, and a touchy subject, is very much worthwhile viewing, and maintains actuality to this day, with the outstanding reconciliations of societies like Argentina and Chile with the dissapearences and genocide of people opposed to the dictatorships, or who simply had different points of view. It is a pity that the DVD images are not well reproduced, some work could have been done to improve them through existing technology, and I was shocked to see a DVD that reproduces the subtitle in the movie, and does not allow you to take the subtitles off. Studios have to think more globally and be less US centric, and give us, who speak several languages, the option to take off or put on the subtitles."