Argentine Cinema: “Anita”

Tragedy in the eyes of the innocent.

Argentina. The name is derived from the Latin argentum, “silver.” Amazingly, such a name accurately predicted the richness of its silver screen works. Cheeky yet poignant, our cinema has always had this unique and raw way of portraying reality. From the tragic true story of Camila to the award-winning El Secreto de sus Ojos, in this new series I will present to you one of my greatest prides as an Argentine: our take on the seventh art.

On July 18th, 1994, a suicide bomber perpetrated the largest terrorist attack in Argentina’s history. The destruction of the AMIA (Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Society) brought upon Argentina’s Jewish community its second assault following the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy. With the recent murder of the Special Prosecutor in charge of this investigation, this incident is unfortunately sure to remain as a reminder of the unfair treatment the Jewish community receives worldwide.

Inspired by this real life event, Anita is a film that succeeds in portraying tragedy in a new light. Marco Carnevale’s work adds one more victim to the 86 who passed away in the bombing: Dora, Anita’s mother.

In this fashion, we are introduced to disaster in the eyes of the innocent: our protagonist is the now orphaned Anita, a girl with Down syndrome. It is through her condition that the director manages to expose us to the very core of the terrorist attack, stripped of its political complexities. The numbed down audience is once again reunited with empathy, as Anita’s helpers lead her across Buenos Aires in her search for the mother she does not know she lost.

This 2009 Argentine production was among the first I watched, and years later, it remains a fine example of how cinema can transcend its boundaries and truly embody the seventh art.