The Blonds

How do you create your own identity apart from the people who gave you life? For Argentine filmmaker Albertina Carri, this isn't idle speculation. On February 24, 1977, when she was only four years old, her father, Roberto Carri, a noted sociologist and leftist intellectual, and her mother, Ana Maria Caruso, were kidnapped from their home in Buenos Aries...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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How do you create your own identity apart from the people who gave you life? For Argentine filmmaker Albertina Carri, this isn't idle speculation. On February 24, 1977, when she was only four years old, her father, Roberto Carri, a noted sociologist and leftist intellectual, and her mother, Ana Maria Caruso, were kidnapped from their home in Buenos Aries by agents of the Argentine military junta. Sometime later that year — probably in December and presumably after months of torture — both were murdered under still shadowy circumstances. Carri's parents were just two of the estimated 30,000 "desaparecidos," victims of Argentina's "dirty war" against perceived dissents that began soon after the military overthrow of the Peron government in 1976 and lasted until the election of civilian president Raul Alfonisin in 1983. No official information concerning their fates was ever forthcoming, and survivors were left to wonder what had become of their families and friends. Carri, who was raised along with her two sisters on her aunt and uncle's farm after her parents' disappearance, became interested in how memory operates under such conditions, and one can form a present identity when so much of the past officially doesn't exist. So rather than constructing a record of the past via traditional documentary techniques, her project becomes an attempt to "reveal the mechanism of memory" and explore how the past can and can't be reconstructed, particularly when terror, murder, unexplained disappearances and official silence hold sway. All the elements of a more conventional approach are here: Family photos illustrate anecdotes about her parents told by friends and former comrades, and interviews with former neighbors — like the talkative woman who clearly mis/remembers the whole raven-haired Carri family as blondes — are interesting on account of what details they omit. On another level, the film is a film-within-a-making-of film: Carri casts an actress to dramatize her own attempts to piece together her parents' fate — including her visit to the notorious "Sheraton" detention/torture center, now a Buenos Aires police station, where her parents lived the final months of their lives — and films the behind-the-scenes developments as she and her crew runs into one obstacle after another. It's a complex new approach toward putting memory to tape, and the result can be at times too theoretical, too personal and too opaque, but it's a consistently challenging work that's often sharply poignant. (In Spanish, with English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 2003
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: How do you create your own identity apart from the people who gave you life? For Argentine filmmaker Albertina Carri, this isn't idle speculation. On February 24, 1977, when she was only four years old, her father, Roberto Carri, a noted sociologist and le… (more)

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