Official Story, The (1985): Luis Puenzo’s Argentinean Oscar-Winning Film, Starring Norma Aleandro

Luis Puenzo’s The Official Story, the 1985 Argentinean Oscar-winning film, was inspired by the legacy of anguish, created by Argentina’s military juntas.

The Official Story
La Historia Oficial.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Spanish La historia oficial

This important film, cogently written and beautifully acted, takes us to the place where politics meets the human heart.

Although the desaparecidos, the thousands of Argentines who were abducted during the juntas’ counterinsurgency campaigns of the l970s, are central to the film, director Puenzo and his co-writer, Aida Bortnik, focus not on the mothers who lost their sons, but on a middle-class woman who adopted a daughter.

Through strange circumstances, Alicia, a high school history teacher married to a prosperous businessman, comes to believe that the baby her husband brought home five years ago may be the daughter of a young couple, killed by a right-wing death squad.

The Official Story is one of those rare films that manage to make a powerful political statement while telling an exceptionally good and touching story.

Puenzo’s film is unwaveringly committed to human rights, yet it imposes no explicit ideology or doctrine. The further miracle is that this is the first feature film by Puenzo.

Norma Aleandro’s luminous performance, as a privileged, sheltered woman who gains political consciousness in the midst of a social turmoil, won the top acting award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Oscar Context:

The Official Story won the 1985 Oscar Award for Best Foreign Picture.

Credits:

Directed by Luis Puenzo
Written by Aída Bortnik, Puenzo
Produced by Marcelo Piñeyro
Cinematography Félix Monti
Edited by Juan Carlos Macías
Music by Atilio Stampone
Song: María Elena Walsh

Production companies: Historias Cinematograficas Cinemania
Progress Communications

Distributed by Almi Pictures (US theatrical)

Release date: April 3, 1985 (Argentina)

Running time: 112 minutes