Sure, plenty of commercial comedy and drama flicks are premiering in the U.S. this summer. And sure, some of them are bound to be entertaining and of high quality.
But don’t be blinded by Hollywood’s glamorous, big-budget productions and the amalgamas of producers behind them. Argentine films, produced in large part by government subsidies, are proof that directors and producers don’t need to be rich to be talented.
Argentina’s historically been ranked as one of Latin America’s leading cinemas. It’s the only country in the region to have won an Oscar (and it did so twice). But the country has seen an insurgence of high-quality, widely-accessible films since the mid-1990s, when the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA) reinstated funds for directors and producers.
If you are even vaguely aware of Argentine culture, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to see a tango singer, a gaucho (cowboy) or a fútbol (soccer) player in an Argentine film. But in keeping with the modern trend, none of the films on this list rely on Argentine-specific cultural references. Their themes, characters and content are accessible to virtually anyone; indeed, the Spanish language is the only common trait they share.
And luckily for all you non-Spanish speakers out there (c’mon, get with the program!), each of the films on this list are available for your watching pleasure on Netflix, complete with English subtitles.
Much easier on your wallet than those films in commercial theaters, with their pesky, ever-increasing movie ticket prices.
1. El aura (The Aura), 2009
Directed by the late Fabián Bielinsky, this thriller film features well-known Argentine actor Ricardo Darín, who played the lead role in Argentina’s 2009 Oscar-winner, El secreto de sus ojos (The Secret in their Eyes). By the way, if you haven’t seen that one, I highly recommend it- it's also available on Netflix.. Think Silence of the Lambs meets The Notebook.
El aura follows the odd rural journey of Esteban Espinosa, a quiet, meticulous taxidermist who also happens to be epileptic. Esteban fantasizes about carrying out the perfect bank robbery. His photographic memory and strict attention to detail make him an ideal candidate for committing a crime.
However, Esteban doesn’t have any cruel intentions toward others; no overarching, evil plan. He seems to be interested in committing a crime strictly for the hell of it, for the sake of proving that he can fool the powers-that-be.