The Info List - The Official Story

The Official Story
The Official Story
(Spanish: La historia oficial) is a 1985 Argentine drama historical film directed by Luis Puenzo and written by Puenzo and Aída Bortnik. It stars Norma Aleandro, Héctor Alterio, Chunchuna Villafañe and Hugo Arana. In the United Kingdom, it was released as The Official Version.[1][2] The film deals with the story of an upper middle class couple who lives in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
with an illegally adopted child. The mother comes to realize that her daughter may be the child of a desaparecido, a victim of the forced disappearances that occurred during Argentina's last military dictatorship (1976-1983), which was marred by widespread human rights violations and a genocide.[3][4][5] Among several other international awards, it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 58th Academy Awards.[6]


1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Background 4 Production 5 Distribution 6 Reception

6.1 Critical response 6.2 Awards

6.2.1 Wins 6.2.2 Nominations

7 See also 8 References 9 External links

Plot[edit] The film is set in Argentina in the 1980s, in the last years of the country's last military dictatorship, during which a campaign of state-sponsored terrorism produced thousands of killings and torture of accused political leftists and innocents alike, who were buried in unmarked graves or became desaparecidos. Alicia, a teacher, and Roberto, a government agent, live in Buenos Aires with their adopted daughter, Gaby. On Gaby's fifth birthday, Alicia wonders about Gaby's real parents, a topic her husband has told her to ignore, although he seems to know the story of his daughter's adoption. Ana, Alicia's longtime friend, returns from exile and tells Alicia about having been held and tortured for having lived with a man labeled as a subversive. When she tells Alicia that she had seen children taken away from their parents in jail, Alicia begins to think that Gaby's parents may have been similarly arrested. While searching for records about Gaby at a hospital, Alicia learns of an organization searching for missing children. A woman there, Sara, believes Gaby may be her granddaughter, whose parents had disappeared. Alicia, like other members of the Argentine upper class, is not aware of how much killing and suffering has gone on in the country. Her views are challenged by a fellow teacher, Benitez (Patricio Contreras), and some of her students. One student argues that the government-issued history textbooks are "written by murderers." When Alicia reports the student, Benitez intervenes to protect him. Alicia gradually becomes friendly with Benitez as her research brings her closer to the truth. Roberto faces stress at work due to the machinations of his colleagues, several of whom disappear over the course of the film. Ana confronts him and accuses him of denouncing her and causing her arrest. He also comes into friction with his liberal father and brother, who frown on his ties to the ruling conservative military elite and argue in favor of social justice. Alicia brings Sara home to meet Roberto, and he becomes furious. That evening, Alicia surprises Roberto when she tells him that Gaby is not home, saying, "How does it feel not knowing where your child is?" Although she tells him that Gaby is at his mother's house, he becomes enraged and assaults her. The violence is interrupted by a telephone call from Gaby. While Gaby sings a nursery rhyme to Roberto, Alicia gets her purse and walks out the door, leaving her keys behind. The film's final shot shows Gaby sitting in a wicker rocking chair at her adopted grandparents' house, continuing to sing. Cast[edit]

Héctor Alterio as Roberto Ibáñez Norma Aleandro
Norma Aleandro
as Alicia Marnet de Ibáñez Chunchuna Villafañe
Chunchuna Villafañe
as Ana Hugo Arana as Enrique Guillermo Battaglia as José Chela Ruiz as Sara Patricio Contreras
Patricio Contreras
as Benítez María Luisa Robledo as Nata Aníbal Morixe as Miller Jorge Petraglia as Macci Analía Castro as Gaby Daniel Lago as Dante Augusto Larreta as General Pablo Rago

Background[edit] Main article: Dirty War

The Military Regime of Argentina (1976-1983) saw widespread repression against those it deemed to be political dissidents.

The film is based on the real political events that took place in Argentina after Jorge Rafael Videla's reactionary military junta assumed power on March 24, 1976. During the junta's rule, the parliament was suspended; unions, political parties and provincial governments were banned; and, in what became known as the Dirty War, between 9,000 and 30,000 people deemed left-wing "subversives" disappeared from society.[7] Like many progressive actors and others in the country, the lead actress in the film, Norma Aleandro, was forced into exile during this time. She traveled to Uruguay
first and Spain
later. She returned after the fall of the military government in 1983.[8] Aleandro once said, "Alicia's personal search is also my nation's search for the truth about our history. The film is positive in the way it demonstrates that she can change her life despite all she is losing."[9] The Official Story
The Official Story
can be considered alongside a group of other films that were the first to be made in Argentina after the downfall in 1983 of the last Argentine dictator, General Galtieri, and his autocratic regime. These films deal frankly with the repression, the torture, and the disappearances during Argentina's Dirty War
Dirty War
in the 1970s and early 1980s; they include Funny Dirty Little War (1983) and Night of the Pencils (1986). A second group of films, which includes Verónico Cruz (1988) uses metaphor and hints at wider socio-political issues.[10][11] Production[edit] At first, director Puenzo, fearing for his safety, intended to shoot the film in secret, using hidden 16mm
cameras. But the junta government fell right about the time the screenplay was completed.[12] The film was entirely shot in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, including the Plaza de Mayo
Plaza de Mayo
where the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo congregated in the late 1970s with signs and pictures of desaparecidos who were subjected to forced disappearance by the Argentine military in the Dirty War. The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo
Plaza de Mayo
continue to protest every Thursday afternoon at 3:30 pm in the Plaza de Mayo
Plaza de Mayo
in Buenos Aires.[13] Distribution[edit] The Official Story
The Official Story
first opened in Argentina on April 3, 1985. It has also been featured at various film festivals including the Toronto Festival of Festivals, the Berlin International Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival, and the Mar del Plata Film Festival. Reception[edit] Critical response[edit] The film won many awards when first released and, as such, the drama was widely well received in the 1980s. Walter Goodman, film critic for The New York Times, believes the film was well balanced, and wrote, "Mr. Puenzo's film is unwaveringly committed to human rights, yet it imposes no ideology or doctrine. The further miracle is that this is the 39-year-old director's first feature film."[14] Critic Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
lauded the film in his film review, writing, "The Official Story is part polemic, part thriller, part tragedy. It belongs on the list with films like Z, Missing and El Norte, which examine the human aspects of political unrest. It is a movie that asks some very hard questions ... Alicia is played in the movie by Norma Aleandro, whose performance won the best actress award at this year's Cannes Film Festival. It is a performance that will be hard to forget, particularly since so much of it is internal. Some of the key moments in the film come as we watch Aleandro and realize what must be taking place inside her mind, and inside her conscience. Most political films play outside the countries that they are about; "The Official Story" is now actually playing in Argentina, where it must be almost unbearably painful for some of the members of its audiences. It was almost as painful for me."[15] Film critics Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, of the website Spirituality and Practice, were painfully touched by the story they viewed. They write, " The Official Story
The Official Story
is a wrenching and painful drama that crystallizes the horror and the obscenity of political activities that annihilate family solidarity in the name of ideology... The Official Story
The Official Story
packs a shattering visceral punch."[16] A few critics were dismissive of the story Puenzo tells. For example, The Chicago Reader's Dave Kehr thought "Puenzo's methods are so crudely manipulative ... that the film quickly uses up the credit of its good intentions."[17] Awards[edit] Wins[edit]

Academy Awards: Oscar; Best Foreign Film; 1985. Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards: LAFCA Award Best Foreign Film; (tied with Ran); 1985. New York Film Critics Circle Awards: NYFCC Award Best Actress; Norma Aleandro; 1985. Toronto International Film Festival: People's Choice Award, Luis Puenzo, 1985. Premios ACE: Premio ACE Cinema; Best Actress, Norma Aleandro; Cinema - Best Director, Luis Puenzo; Cinema - Best Film; 1986. Golden Globes: Best Foreign Language Film; 1986. Argentine Film Critics Association
Argentine Film Critics Association
Awards: Silver Condor; Best Actress, Norma Aleandro; Best Cinematography, Félix Monti; Best Director, Luis Puenzo; Best Editing, Juan Carlos Macías; Best Film; Best New Actress, Analía Castro; Best Original Screenplay, Aída Bortnik and Luis Puenzo; Best Supporting Actor, Patricio Contreras; Best Supporting Actress, Chela Ruiz; 1986. Berlin International Film Festival: Interfilm Award, Otto Dibelius Film Award, Luis Puenzo, (tied with Un Complicato intrigo di donne, vicoli e delitti); 1986. Cannes Film Festival: Best Actress, Norma Aleandro; Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Luis Puenzo; 1985.[18] Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards: KCFCC Award Best Foreign Film; 1986. David di Donatello Awards: David Best Foreign Actress, Norma Aleandro; 1987.


Academy Awards: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen; 1985. Cannes Film Festival: Golden Palm, Luis Puenzo; 1985. Sant Jordi Awards: Best Foreign Actress, Norma Aleandro; 1987. Best Foreign Language Film, U.S. National Board of Review of Motion Pictures[19]

See also[edit]

Maria Eugenia Sampallo The Lost Steps
The Lost Steps
(2001) Captive (2005) List of submissions to the 58th Academy Awards
Academy Awards
for Best Foreign Language Film List of Argentine submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film


^ Channel 4 film review. ^ Time Out London. Time Out Film Guide 13, 2007. ^ Atrocities in Argentina (1976–1983) Holocaust Museum of Houston ^ Time to Stop Calling Argentina’s Last Dictatorship a “Dirty War” Latino Rebels ^ CONADEP, Nunca Más Report, Chapter II, Section One:Advertencia, [1] (in Spanish) ^ "The 58th Academy Awards
Academy Awards
(1986) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2013-11-10.  ^ The Vanished Gallery. ^ Curran, Daniel. Cinebooks: Foreign Films, McPherson's Publishing: 1989, page 132. ^ Blommers, Thomas J. "Social and Cultural Circularity in La historia oficial," California State University-Bakersfield. ^ Cinergía Archived 2006-12-09 at the Wayback Machine. movie file by Cristina Molano-Wendt, Amy Bianchi, Shannon Tierny, and Brian Sabella. For educational purposes. ^ new internationalist. Issue 192, February 1989. Last accessed: May 13, 2012. ^ Curran, Daniel. Ibid, page 133. ^ Asrianti, Tifa. The Jakarta Post, "Mothers of Plaza De Mayo: Justice for disappeared loved ones, one step at a (long) time," April 26, 2009. Last accessed: May 13, 2013. ^ Goodman, Walter. "Screen: Argentine Love And Loss". The New York Times. November 8, 1985. ^ Ebert, Roger. "The Official Story". Chicago Sun-Times. November 11, 1985. Retrieved: January 8, 2008. ^ Brussat, Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat. Spirituality and Practice, film review. Retrieved: January 8, 2008. ^ Kehr, Dave. "The Official Story". The Chicago Reader. Last accessed: May 13, 2012 ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Official Story". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-06-28.  ^ "1985 Award Winners". National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. 2016. Retrieved November 5, 2016. 

External links[edit]

La historia oficial on IMDb The Official Story
The Official Story
at Rotten Tomatoes The Official Story
The Official Story
at Box Office Mojo La historia oficial at the cinenacional.com (in Spanish) La historia oficial 20th Anniversary in Argentina (in Spanish) The Official Story
The Official Story
trailer at YouTube

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Silver Condor Award for Best Film


The Gaucho War
The Gaucho War
(1942) Juvenilia (1943) His Best Student
His Best Student
(1944) The Phantom Lady (1945) Celos (1946) Albéniz (1947) God Reward You
God Reward You
(1948) Almafuerte (1949) School of Champions
School of Champions


Los Isleros
Los Isleros
(1951) Dark River (1952) Caballito criollo (1953) Barrio Gris (1954) La Quintrala
La Quintrala
(1955) Los tallos amargos (1956) El jefe (1958) La caída (1959) Shunko (1960) The Old Young People (1962) Alias Gardelito
Alias Gardelito
(1961) Paula cautiva (1963) The Escaped (1964) Chronicle of a Boy Alone
Chronicle of a Boy Alone
(1965) Arm in Arm Down the Street (1966) El Romance del Aniceto y la Francisca (1967) Martín Fierro (1968) Don Segundo Sombra (1969) Juan Lamaglia y señora (1970)


Nosotros los monos (1971) La maffia (1972) Juan Moreira (1973) So Feared a Hell (1980) Time for Revenge (1981) Plata dulce
Plata dulce
(1982) Darse cuenta (1984) The Official Story
The Official Story
(1985) Tangos, the Exile
of Gardel (1986) Man Facing Southeast
Man Facing Southeast
(1986) Verónico Cruz (1988) La ciudad oculta (1989) Últimas imágenes del naufragio (1990)


Después de la tormenta (1990) A Place in the World (1992) Gatica, el mono (1993) Cortázar (1994) Casas de fuego (1995) Autumn Sun (1996) Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
viceversa (1997) Pizza, Beer, and Cigarettes
Pizza, Beer, and Cigarettes
(1998) Same Love, Same Rain
Same Love, Same Rain
(1999) Nine Queens
Nine Queens
(2000) Son of the Bride
Son of the Bride
(2001) Intimate Stories (2002) Valentín
(2003) Roma (2004) El aura (2005) Chronicle of an Escape
Chronicle of an Escape
(2006) XXY (2007) Aniceto (2008) The Secret in Their Eyes
The Secret in Their Eyes
(2009) Carancho
(2010) Las acacias (2011) Clandestine Childhood
Clandestine Childhood
(2012) The German Doctor (2013) Refugiado (2014) El patrón: radiografía de un crimen (2015) Incident Light (2016)

v t e

Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

1947–1955 (Honorary)

1947: Shoeshine – Vittorio De Sica 1948: Monsieur Vincent
Monsieur Vincent
– Maurice Cloche 1949: Bicycle Thieves
Bicycle Thieves
– Vittorio De Sica 1950: The Walls of Malapaga – René Clément 1951: Rashomon
– Akira Kurosawa 1952: Forbidden Games
Forbidden Games
– René Clément 1953: No Award 1954: Gate of Hell – Teinosuke Kinugasa 1955: Samurai, The Legend of Musashi – Hiroshi Inagaki


1956: La Strada
La Strada
– Federico Fellini 1957: Nights of Cabiria
Nights of Cabiria
– Federico Fellini 1958: My Uncle – Jacques Tati 1959: Black Orpheus
Black Orpheus
– Marcel Camus 1960: The Virgin Spring
The Virgin Spring
– Ingmar Bergman 1961: Through a Glass Darkly – Ingmar Bergman 1962: Sundays and Cybele
Sundays and Cybele
– Serge Bourguignon 1963:
– Federico Fellini 1964: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
– Vittorio De Sica 1965: The Shop on Main Street
The Shop on Main Street
Ján Kadár & Elmar Klos 1966: A Man and a Woman
A Man and a Woman
– Claude Lelouch 1967: Closely Watched Trains
Closely Watched Trains
– Jiří Menzel 1968: War and Peace – Sergei Bondarchuk 1969: Z – Costa-Gavras 1970: Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
– Elio Petri 1971: The Garden of the Finzi Continis – Vittorio De Sica 1972: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
– Luis Buñuel 1973: Day for Night – François Truffaut 1974: Amarcord
– Federico Fellini 1975: Dersu Uzala – Akira Kurosawa


1976: Black and White in Color
Black and White in Color
– Jean-Jacques Annaud 1977: Madame Rosa
Madame Rosa
– Moshé Mizrahi 1978: Get Out Your Handkerchiefs
Get Out Your Handkerchiefs
– Bertrand Blier 1979: The Tin Drum – Volker Schlöndorff 1980: Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears
Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears
– Vladimir Menshov 1981: Mephisto – István Szabó 1982: Volver a Empezar ('To Begin Again') – José Luis Garci 1983: Fanny and Alexander
Fanny and Alexander
– Ingmar Bergman 1984: Dangerous Moves
Dangerous Moves
– Richard Dembo 1985: The Official Story
The Official Story
– Luis Puenzo 1986: The Assault – Fons Rademakers 1987: Babette's Feast – Gabriel Axel 1988: Pelle the Conqueror
Pelle the Conqueror
– Bille August 1989: Cinema Paradiso – Giuseppe Tornatore 1990: Journey of Hope – Xavier Koller 1991: Mediterraneo – Gabriele Salvatores 1992: Indochine – Régis Wargnier 1993: Belle Époque – Fernando Trueba 1994: Burnt by the Sun
Burnt by the Sun
– Nikita Mikhalkov 1995: Antonia's Line
Antonia's Line
– Marleen Gorris 1996: Kolya
– Jan Svěrák 1997: Character – Mike van Diem 1998: Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful
– Roberto Benigni 1999: All About My Mother
All About My Mother
– Pedro Almodóvar 2000: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
– Ang Lee


2001: No Man's Land – Danis Tanović 2002: Nowhere in Africa – Caroline Link 2003: The Barbarian Invasions
The Barbarian Invasions
– Denys Arcand 2004: The Sea Inside
The Sea Inside
– Alejandro Amenábar 2005: Tsotsi
– Gavin Hood 2006: The Lives of Others
The Lives of Others
– Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck 2007: The Counterfeiters – Stefan Ruzowitzky 2008: Departures – Yōjirō Takita 2009: The Secret in Their Eyes
The Secret in Their Eyes
– Juan J. Campanella 2010: In a Better World
In a Better World
– Susanne Bier 2011: A Separation – Asghar Farhadi 2012: Amour – Michael Haneke 2013: The Great Beauty
The Great Beauty
– Paolo Sorrentino 2014: Ida – Paweł Pawlikowski 2015: Son of Saul
Son of Saul
– László Nemes 2016: The Salesman – Asghar Farhadi 2017: A Fantastic Woman
A Fantastic Woman
– Sebastián Lelio

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Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Foreign Film – Foreign Language 1965–1972

Juliet of the Spirits (1965) A Man and a Woman
A Man and a Woman
(1966) Live for Life (1967) War and Peace (1968) Z (1969) Rider on the Rain
Rider on the Rain
(1970) The Policeman
The Policeman
(1971) The Emigrants (1972) The New Land
The New Land

Foreign Film 1973–1985

The Pedestrian (1973) Scenes from a Marriage
Scenes from a Marriage
(1974) Lies My Father Told Me
Lies My Father Told Me
(1975) Face to Face (1976) A Special Day
A Special Day
(1977) Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
(1978) La Cage aux Folles (1979) Tess (1980) Chariots of Fire
Chariots of Fire
(1981) Gandhi (1982) Fanny and Alexander
Fanny and Alexander
(1983) A Passage to India (1984) The Official Story
The Official Story

Foreign Language Film 1986–present

The Assault (1986) My Life as a Dog
My Life as a Dog
(1987) Pelle the Conqueror
Pelle the Conqueror
(1988) Cinema Paradiso (1989) Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) Europa Europa
Europa Europa
(1991) Indochine (1992) Farewell My Concubine (1993) Farinelli (1994) Les Misérables (1995) Kolya
(1996) Ma vie en rose (1997) Central Station (1998) All About My Mother
All About My Mother
(1999) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
(2000) No Man's Land (2001) Talk to Her (2002) Osama (2003) The Sea Inside
The Sea Inside
(2004) Paradise Now
Paradise Now
(2005) Letters from Iwo Jima
Letters from Iwo Jima
(2006) The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) Waltz with Bashir
Waltz with Bashir
(2008) The White Ribbon
The White Ribbon
(2009) In a Better World
In a Better World
(2010) A Separation (2011) Amour (2012) The Great Beauty
The Great Beauty
(2013) Leviathan (2014) Son of Saul
Son of Saul
(2015) Elle (2016) In the