Film-Forward Review: [THE BLONDS]

Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video

Analia Couceyro plays the filmmaker Albertina Carri 
(Photo: Women Make Movies)

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Directed & Written by: Albertina Carri.
Produced by: Barry Ellsworth.
Director of Photography: Catalina Fernández.
Edited by: Alejandro Almirón.
Music by: Ryuichi Sakamoto & Charly Garcia.
Released by: Women Make Movies.
Country of Origin: Argentina/USA. 89 min. Not Rated.
With: Analia Couceyro.

Albertina Carri, daughter of left-wing revolutionaries, was four years old when her parents "disappeared," victims of Argentina's Dirty War. Now, 31 years later, she pieces together her family history and the story of their disappearance. Instead of turning the camera on herself, Carri hires an actress. "My name is Analia Couceyro. I play the part of Albertina Carri," Couceyro tells the audience, revealing, from the start, that even documentary film, like memory, is fabricated. Throughout, Carri reconstructs scenes with stop-action animation featuring Playmobil figurines. The plastic figures hangout by the pool, barbecue and dance. Like the use of the actress, the animation puts distance between the viewer and the film. However, this also underlines the fact that it is simply impossible for a child to accept that her parents have simply vanished. At one point, Carri says, "To develop yourself without the one who gave you life becomes an obsession." She needs to construct a narrative about her family life in order to have an identity.

Carri also visits the neighborhood where she lived when her parents were taken. Several of the neighbors remember her family, and one claims that they were all blonde. The audience knows that Carri is a brunette, and like her, we are puzzled by this assertion. Also puzzling is that the neighbors have little to say on the topic of the kidnapping. Ultimately, Carri's questions are left unanswered and she is forced to forge a new family with her film crew and cast of one, all of whom sport blonde wigs by the end of the film.

Although the filmmaking is personal, the use of an actress, footage of the film’s production, and the continual awareness of the camera diffuse the emotional impact. However, on an intellectual level, the film is just challenging enough to keep us engaged while Carri explores the impossibility of coming to terms with the inexplicable loss of a parent. "It's something that doesn't have an end," says one interviewee. "That's the most painful; there's no closure." Caitlin Shamberg, former programming associate for the Mill Valley Film Festival
April 6, 2004



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