Argentine movies have been gaining more global recognition ever since “El Secreto de sus ojos” won the Oscar for best foreign film in 2009. Just last year, “Wild Tales” or Relatos Salvajes was also nominated for best foreign film. But what many people don’t know is that Argentine movies have taken home 14 Goya Awards for Best Spanish Foreign Film: the most in the world. Additionally, Argentina is the only Latin American country with Oscar bragging rights having won the Best Foreign Film category with “The Official Story” in 1985 and “The Secret in Their Eyes” in 2009.
Whether your Spanish language skills range from nada to nativo, the following Argentine moviesshould help you not only understand the culture better, but also may convince you to take a trip to the seventh largest country in the world.
Below is a list of 10 of the best Argentine movies, followed by a description of each.
Relatos Salvajes- Damián Szifrón
El Secreto de sus ojos- Juan José Campanella
La suerte está echada- Sebastián Borensztein
Esperando la carroza- Alejandro Doria
Carancho- Pablo Trapero
Un Oso Rojo- Adrián Caetano
El Estudiante- Santiago Mitre
Pizza, Birra, Faso- Leopoldo Torre Nilsson
Un novio para mi mujer- Juan Taratuto
Nueve Reinas- Fabián Bielinsky
1. Relatos Salvajes – Director: Damián Szifrón
“When poison is expired, is it more or less harmful?” This black comedy film written and directed by Damián Szifrón is a side splitter that explores the themes of modern rage and violence.
2. El Secreto de sus ojos – Director: Juan José Campanella
Based on the novel “The question of their eyes” by Eduardo Sacheri, “The Secret of Their Eyes” won the Oscar in 2009 for Best Foreign film. With an all-star cast of Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Guillermo Francella, Javier Godino and Pablo Rago, you’re sure to be on the edge of your seat throughout this suspenseful thriller.
3. La suerte está echada – Director: Sebastián Borensztein
Alea iacta est or “The die is cast” was the latin expression coined by the Roman historian Suetonius when Julius began a long civil war by crossing the Rubicon river between Gaul and Italy. This film explores the topic of “mufas” or jinxes and people that always bring bad luck. Is one born with bad luck or is it passed on by supernatural forces?
4. Esperando la carroza – Director: Alejandro Doria
“Waiting for the Hearse” is one of the most celebrated Argentine cult comedies. When the widowed, elderly mother of four children falls on financial woes, the family struggles to come to terms with who will look after the loveable wreck of a matriarch.
5. Carancho – Director: Pablo Trapero
What do crooked ‘ambulance chasing’ lawyers and buzzards have in common? They both live off of the victims of traffic accidents. This film weaves in and out of the shadowy underworld of auto insurance fraud in Buenos Aires and the love/hate relationship between two characters heading in opposite directions on a one-way street.
6. Un Oso Rojo – Director: Adrián Caetano
“A Red Bear,” starring Julio Chavez, involves the main character’s struggles with life after being released form prison for theft.
7. El Estudiante – Director: Santiago Mitre
If interested in the politics and drama that ensue at public Argentine universities, “The Student” is the blueprint. Director Santiago Mitre made this political thriller with the help of the National Institute of Cinema and Visual Arts in 2011. The film captures the pitfalls, victories and tribulations that surround the life of a young student politician.
8. Pizza, Birra, Faso – Director: Leopoldo Torre Nilsson
This cult classic offers the viewer a unique glimpse of the shadier characters and schemes in 1980s Buenos Aires. The film begins with a group of troubled teens smoking and drinking atop the iconic obelisque discussing their troubles, dreams and plans for life.
9. Un novio para mi mujer – Director: Juan Taratuto
Actress Valeria Bertuccelli shines in “A girlfriend for my wife,” a romantic comedy that explores the consequences of trying to end a long-term love relationship. A must see for anyone looking to understand the strong willed and independent modern Argentine woman.
10. Nueve Reinas – Director: Fabián Bielinsky
This crime suspense film follows two con artists as they try and find the ultimate score amidst setbacks and a terrible financial crisis that hits Buenos Aires. The film was also adapted into English by director Gregory Jacobs in 2004 and stars John C. Reily and Diego Luna. “Nine Queens” is a Porteño classic that exposes many of the most common cons that happen in the big city.
For more fun facts and interesting stories about Argentine culture, check out more of Say Hueque’s blog. Or to start planning your trip to Argentina to see these things for yourself, contact Say Hueque!