Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Surprise Academy winner THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES opens, TM says: "Told you so."
sing Waltz With Bashir, The Class, The Baader-Meinhof Complex and Revanche, they handed the Best-Foreign-Language-Film award to the utterly arthouse/
mainstream film (though, to my mind, a good one) Departures. This year, they've repeated themselves, skipping over the likes of The White Ribbon, Ajami, A Prophet and The Milk of Sorrow, allowing "Oscar" to alight on the Argentine romance/melodrama/thriller THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES, co-written (with Eduardo Sacheri, from his novel) and directed by Juan José Campanella (shown below) -- which proves yet another excellent arthouse/mainstream movie.
TrustMovies is happy to say that, this past January, he predicted exactly this in his post on Departures (scroll to the end of that post, anyone of you who are interested), even though "Secret" was the only one of the five Academy-nominated films competing for Best Foreign Language award that he had not yet seen. Advance word about the quality of the film, as well as its content, made it sound like a shoo-in for the Academy's vote. There is a certain kind of movie that seems unstoppable, once nominated for BFLF. (Nowhere in Africa was one of these, and, had it been nominated, so would have been Gloomy Sunday a decade ago). These are all very good foreign films, probably rather mainstream in their country of origin and so become what I call arthouse/mainstream over here. Further, while they may touch upon dark themes (death in Depatures, the workings of fascism on society in "Secret," the Holocaust in "Africa" and "Sunday"), they are not in themselves dark movies, though "Secret" comes much closer to dark than did Departures. (Its utter darkness, by the way, was the reason that Gomorrah never even made the shortlist of BFLF nominees.)
Ricardo Darin (above and below), an Argentine actor as charismatic and talented as were Mastroianni or Belmondo in their day, this character holds the film and its other characters together, as everything revolves around him and his preoccupations, then and now. These include love, honor, friendship -- and memory.
ter of our attention. Yet the film is also a love story (two of them, in fact) -- the who, how and why of which we learn only as "Secret" unravels. Memory and the necessity of remembering are vital to the movie, as is the idea of justice, both served and betrayed.
Soledad Villamil (above, left) as Darin's love interest, Guillermo Francella, as his alcohol-prone partner (below, right), Pablo Rago as the grieving husband and Javier Godino (shown two photos above, with the gun in that elevator) as the "perp." You can enjoy The Secret in Their Eyes for its love story, its thriller aspects, its drama. Watchful viewers, however, may also get a glimpse of how uneasy Argentine audiences must have been to see their recent history laid bare so subtly and artfully. As fine as were the other Best Foreign Language Film nominees, there is no reason to feel that this year's award was mis-bestowed.
Sony Pictures Classics, opens Friday, April 16, in New York City and Los Angeles, with a limited national rollout to follow.