Friday, December 26, 2008

Chronicles of An Escape (2007) R - 4 Stars

Aka Crónica de una Fuga, aka Buenos Aires, 1977 Chronicle of a Flight, in Spanish with subtitles, Wow!!, this is one intense movie. From 1976 to 1983, over 30,000 people were killed by the Argentinean military authorities ruling the country. Many were brought to the Sere Mansion, an unofficial holding station in Moron, Argentina, to be questioned, interrogated and tortured. Many men, would even sell out their innocent friends, in order to buy themselves a chance to stay alive.

This is the true story of 4 of these men whom after being kidnapped, tortured and held captive for 121 days, finally find their freedom. Though the movie starts out with the focus on an innocent goalie, with no connections to any organization, you'll eventually find yourself pulling for everyone to escape, guilty or not. Very strong performances from the entire prisoner cast, which makes the story feel that much more realistic. Be prepared to face full frontal nudity but, if you love true stories of courage against the inevitable, I recommend watching this one.

It's winter of 1977, and Claudio Tamburrini (Rodrigo De La Serna) is playing soccer (football), as the goalie with his team, in a minor league game. When he returns home, he finds his mother and sister have been taken hostage while awaiting his arrival. He is immediately labeled a "terrorist" after finding a cloth baring a military guerrilla insignia in his home, and taken away by blindfold. Kidnapped and beaten, he arrives at Sere Mansion, run by Lucas (Diego Alonso) and thrown into a holding center with other beaten and blindfolded men.

Many other captives, Tano (Martin Urruty), the one who gave the guards Claudio's name, Guillermo (Nazareno Casero), Vasco (Matias Marmorato), and Gallego (Lautaro Delgado), are also being tortured for information. The men are beat daily and terrified, and almost willing to say anything to make the pain stop. Claudio is tortured repeatedly for the names and information of his militant friends. But even after all the interrogations, beatings and humiliations, Claudio who's innocent, can not offer any information.

Some of the prisoners are taken at random, moved and even returned in order to keep the others scared silly. When Tano is taken to be, "sent to prison", the other men fear their days are numbered. With death imminently awaiting, Claudio plans a daring attempt at freedom. In the middle of a rain storm, Claudio, Guilermo, Vasvo and Gallego, open their only window climb down two stories and escape naked into the woods while they watch new recruits coming in. Though a seemingly easy target to find, the men are able to slip away into neighborhood, finally escaping their prison.

First Take, IFC Films
Directors: Israel Adrián Caetano, Adrián Caetano
Writers: Estevan Student, Julian Loyola, Israel Adrián Caetano
Producers: Hugo Sigman, Oscar Kramer
I viewed 12/08

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