La Recoleta Cemetery rests in the heart of one of Buenos Aires' swankiest neighborhoods. A city-within-a-city, it is an inward-facing place with its own interior geography. Like the Pčre-Lachaise graveyard in France, La Recoleta is the final resting place for key figures of its nation's history: statesmen and poets, founding fathers and oppositional voices. And with Argentina's history so fraught with unrest, this relationship between the necropolis, the city and the nation proves fascinating ground for Nicolás Prividera's new film.
The grounds are laid out like city blocks, with wide avenues branching onto lanes filled with elaborate mausoleums. The film does not attempt to tour the cemetery as one would on foot, however, but rather moves chronologically through the history enshrined there.
A series of individuals read aloud excerpts from the writings of noteworthy Argentines interred within. Revealed are civil wars, battles with the country's native population, conflict between the city and the provinces, and years of military dictatorship. The readings are intercut with sequences of daily life in Recoleta, including the cemetery's custodians, whose work amid the tombs alludes to the ongoing construction of the nation's history.
Prividera has a striking sense of composition. He is highly attentive to contrasts between light and shadow, immovable stone and the passing signs of human presence, and the looming skyline of Buenos Aires over the cemetery's walls. Fatherland could stand on the strength of its images alone. However, its astonishing historical juxtapositions and the moving articulations of living Argentine citizens elevate the film's significance to another plane entirely. [Excerpts from the TIFF Programmer‘s Note by Kate Lawrie Van de Ven]
OFFICIAL SELECTION, Toronto International Film Festival
"Arresting...original...most effective! One of the real highlights of the Toronto Film Festival." -Senses of Cinema
"Intriguing... Engrossing!" - Variety
"A treat for adventurous viewers!" - Film Crave.com
Release Year : 2011
Running Time: 100 minutes
Language: Spanish w/English subtitles