Buenos Aires Vice Versa (1996)

 

 

 

Director:     Alejandro Agresti.

Starring:     Vera Fogwill (Daniela), Nicolás Pauls (Damián), Fernán Mirás (Mario), Mirta Busnelli (Loca tv), Carlos Roffé (Service), Mario Paolucci (Amigo), Laura Melillo (Ciega), Harry Havilio (Tío), Nazareno Casero (Bocha), Carlos Galettini (Don Nicolás), Floria Bloise (Doña Amalia), Inés Molina (Chica), Rolando Epstein (Mazur), Susana Cortínez (Adoptive mother), Sergio Poves Campos (Adoptive father).

one result of the Argentine military dictatorship was a group of youth with murdered relatives

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film.

"In the years of the military dictatorship in Argentina some 30,000 people just disappeared and were killed. The majority of those were young people, sons and daughters, who were at the age to ask for answers from society."

"To those young people this film is dedicated. "

The manager is showing a young man different apartments to rent in his apartment building. A young woman named Daniela is taking a shower. (brief nudity) With her is a young man, Mario, naked in bed. The manager starts to open the apartment door. The nude woman rushes to the door to ask who is it? The manager tells her he is showing apartments today.

The young lady puts on a large shower towel. She brushes her teeth. She jokes around with Mario. They are in love it seems. Later she takes off her towel and starts getting dressed. (brief nudity)

A woman named Christina sets a table with plates and dinnerware. She sets some food out. She fiddles with her television antenna to get the best picture possible. This frustrates her a little.

While talking, a young man, an attendant at a local hourly hotel, and woman walk down a street in Buenos Aires. In a car with Daniela, Mario passes by the walkers.

Christina puts a plate with food on it, accompanied by silverware, before the television, as if the television is her guest. She pours herself some wine and then pours more in the glass in front of the television. News highlights flash before her eyes and she bounces in her chair listening to the lively song on television. The host starts talking and the woman makes sarcastic, mocking remarks about him.

A young boxer goes to the park to do some jogging. In boxing shorts, in the gym, the fellow jump ropes.

The weather woman comes on the news and Christina starts throwing food at the television screen.

A drunk couple at a bar talk to each other. The man and woman are both blind and have to use walking sticks to get around the city. The young lady is upset and even cries while talking to the man.

Daniela sees an ad in the paper for a young person. She tears the ad out of the paper. Soon she is being interviewed by an elderly man and woman about the job they want a young person to do. Daniela is so excited that she talks over the man, which leads him to tell her not to interrupt him. The two elderly people do not get out much anymore. So they want a young person to video tape film scenes about life in Buenos Aires. If the couple is pleased with what she has filmed, they will pay Daniela three hundred pesos for each video cassette she finishes. Daniela accepts the job.

The young attendant at the hourly hotel works behind a thick piece of glass that is always between him and the customers.

A spiritual adviser teaches relaxation techniques to a pretty, young woman. The young attendant in the booth listens in on what's happening via a recorder. The young woman takes off her shirt exposing her breasts. (brief nudity)

This day Christina can't get good reception on the news channel. She gets frustrated and then panicky as all her attempts to improve the picture fail. Out the window she yells for help. Now she puts in a telephone call for help.

A television repairman comes to her place and fixes the television. The woman is so relieved to have a good picture again.

Daniela sits by a railway track eating a sandwich. A train comes way too close to her for comfort, but she just continues to eat. She starts taking pictures of things she sees on the streets of Buenos Aires. She takes a lot of video of the people of Buenos Aires. She takes video of some poor children until their parents chase her away. They chase after her, but she runs too fast for them.

The boxer goes into a car dealership to talk about buying a vehicle. He sits in a white car and dreams of driving out with the car.

The TV repairman talks with Christina at a diner. When the news comes up on the television, she gets very excited and insists on watching television. She starts talking to the announcer, bypassing the repairman. This upsets the repairman. He asks her who is she talking to? She says to her ex-husband.

Later Christina and the repairman have a drink at the bar. Sitting on the right of Christina is another man. He says the repairman and he should go have something to eat at a pizzeria. So the two men go to a pizzeria.

At the same pizzeria is Daniela and Mario. Daniela is crying about Mario not caring about her work. Mario gets up from the table and gets a light for his cigarette from the repairman. The repairman says to his buddy that the couple has been fighting with each other ever since he and his friend came into the pizzeria.

At home Daniela and Mario start having sex. (brief nudity) Daniela is raring to go, but Mario stops. She asks him what happened?

The fellow who works in the hourly hotel eats at an outdoor cafe. With him is his girlfriend.

Daniela uses a bit of force to get Mario to continue having sex with her, (brief nudity) but Mario keeps saying no. She throws a drink in Mario's face. They start fighting again. She goes on a rant, but soon breaks out in laughter. She then goes back to her rant as she is getting nothing satisfactory from Mario.

The father of the hotel worker, helps the blind woman cross the street. He then invites her to have some coffee with him.

A woman asks the repairman to come to her apartment and fix her television.

The elderly male is very unhappy with the video shot by Daniela. He really balls her out. So much so that Daniela gets up to leave. Now the man gets worked up even more. She is not finished. He is going to give her another chance. He will give her 500 pesos to go out again and take more video, but of the real Buenos Aires. Daniela asks him: "What people?"

The repairman and his colleague go with the woman to her place. They look at a connection with one of the speakers and find the problem. She fixes drinks for them, then turns on the music. They dance.

Daniela goes crying to an older man named Mazur. She say she needs help and he agrees to help her. Daniela is greatly relieved and thanks Mazur.

The two repairmen get into a big argument with the lady and she tells them to leave. The repair store owner tries to kiss her, but she fights him off.

Mario watches the boxer in a match on television. With him are his two daughters. Back at home Mario wakes up the boxer from his sleep. They have breakfast together.

Daniela tries to get a little boy named Bocha to cooperate with her while she shoots a video. He says he won't unless she gives him five pesos. Nor will he get out of the scene unless he gets five pesos. Daniela sits down on a tree root and starts crying. She asks why does everyone seem to fight with her? The boy feels sorry for her and tries to cheer her up. They end up at a cafe. She shows him how to use the video recorder.

Bocha sleeps in a run down place in the poverty area. Daniela sleeps in an another room. They walk around town taking video pictures.

Dad takes the blind woman to the hourly hotel. She asks him where has he taken her? No answer. He is washing his hands. She thinks he brought her to his house, but now she's worried. He toys with her like a cat plays with a mouse. He teases her holding out his keys while she tries to grab them. The young attendant listens to the two people and starts becoming more and more upset. She takes her walking stick and starts striking out with it. She starts breaking things with the stick. The hotel attendant feels bad about what happened to the blind woman.

The colleague of the repairman lives in a run down place. He makes himself some mate (a type of tea). Later he walks the streets of the city.

Daniela and Bocha are together in Bocha's place. Mario and the boxer listen to music in their home. The blind woman goes out walking. She goes to a demonstration where a banner says: "The only fight you lose, is the one that you abandon." It is a place where thousands of pictures of those who have disappeared under the military dictatorship have been put up for everyone to see.

Bocha and Daniela have dinner at his place. At night they take a walk around the city.

Daniela shows her video tape to the elderly couple. Now they are very happy to see the much more sedate video with a Buenos Aires they can recognize. The elderly lady says it was so good to see the beauty of their Buenos Aires without any political overtones.

Daniela goes to see Mazur. She hands over some money to repay him.

The repairman takes Christina our at night in his car. They start arguing with each other.

In a restaurant, the blind woman tries to telephone the blind man, but can't seem to reach him. She is very upset at this. She doesn't know it, but the blind man is sitting at a table in the same restaurant. The two of them are very sad and lonely.

Daniela and Bocha go shopping in a record store in a mall. She stops to ask the attendant the name of a song she has heard. Bocha walks away from her. She finds the tune with the help of a saleswoman. Bocha steals a video camera from the store.

The father of the hotel attendant, who is a security guard, runs after the boy. Mario and the boxer and the woman that had the two repairmen over to her house sense what is about to happen and they watch intently. Sure enough, the security guard shoots the boy in the mid-section. Christina is also in the shopping mall and she hears the shot. The boxer runs up behind the security man, spins him around, socks the guard to the floor and then hits him several more times. Daniela is oblivious to this since she was listening to the music with her ear phones on. She senses something's wrong and rushes out of the store. On the ground below her, she sees Bocha dead on the mall floor.

Daniela runs out of the mall and to a restroom. She cries and cries. In the stall next to her a man is pistol-whipping a woman to death. The hourly hotel attendant hears Daniela's screams and goes into the lady's room. Daniela tries to motion him to get out but soon she gives in and grabs onto the attendant. She then starts screaming out the name of Bocha.

Christina learns of the killing of the child Bocha from her news program on television. She rushes down to the repair shop and throws her hands around her boyfriend. They kiss and kiss.

 

The synopsis of the movie says: "Disoriented youth, two of them offspring of parents who had disappeared in the last dictatorship, begin their adult lives carrying the action to an ending so dramatic that it symbolizes the recent past, whose effects remain in the thoughts and actions of the characters."

One reviewer objected to any political interpretation of the film as just off base, but the synopsis provided clearly states that the film deals with the after-effects of the horrible killings of 30,000 people by the military dictatorship. I think the two most-effected characters were those of Daniela and the hourly hotel attendant. Both of these characters could not function very well in an adult world. Daniela would yell and scream at her boyfriend in an attempt to force him to give her the love and attention that she needed. She ended up by splitting with the boyfriend.

The hourly hotel attendant ignores the cries of the blind woman who is being sadistically treated by a perverted seeing man. He takes no action to stop the torture and finds himself feeling very guilty afterwards. He also was not doing well in his relationship with a young lady.

Yes, there are effects, there are bad consequences, following an unjust and murderous dictatorship, especially in a military dictatorship. There have been so many films made on this topic, indicating that many years later people in a military dictatorship are still being hurt by the memories and deeds done under the military dictatorship.

The movie follows numerous characters around. The stories are in pieces put into a film that brings most of the players into the grand finale. Very good in the film is Vera Fogwill as Daniela.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 

 

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