Clandestine Childhood Reviews
The politics and the history, though ever present, are kept firmly in the background and the film focuses on the boy's story. The fact that the film is based partly on the director's own childhood, and specially knowing (as he told the audience after a screening) that his mother was one of the "disappeared" during that era, makes the film very poignant. An added bonus is the great music in the film
Over the years, more and more stories have been brought to the public eye about the Argentine Dirty War (1976-1983) which had robbed the public of its civil liberties and taken the lives of, between as little as 10,000 and as many as 30,000 people. These stories were told to educate the world of the atrocities which had been committed by the Military Junta. â~Clandestine Childhoodâ(TM) (Infancia Clandestina) acknowledges the grand issue, but it doesnâ(TM)t focus on it. Rather, it focuses on the complete opposite detail.
The story is about a child, Juan, who is Argentine-born but lives in family-imposed exile in Cuba for safety reasons, but is eventually brought back to his homeland after four years. While being Argentinian, his upbringing is more Cuban than it is of his home: his accent, his mannerisms, and his knowledge of his country. He must live in clandestiny for his familyâ(TM)s protection, so he goes by the name Ernesto.
As mentioned before, â~Clandestine Childhoodâ(TM) doesnâ(TM)t dwell on the military policing and the rough edges of Argentina, but rather the vision of what itâ(TM)s like to grow up in a country where you donâ(TM)t see the difference between good and bad. For Juan (Ernesto), itâ(TM)s about meeting new friends, falling in love, being around his family, and maturing. For Juanâ(TM)s parents, the situation is much more grave as they are part of a freedom fighters rebellion that could easily be compromised with one bad move.
The film is shot with high attention to detail, close angles, and very intimate feels. At times, storyboard/graphic novel-esque images detailed graphic scenes, such as gun fights, explosions, and other rough interactions. Director BenjamÃn Ã?vila, who had based this film around his childhood, claimed that it was ideal to paint a picture of how it was remembered in from memory. Also, instead of just showing any other shootout, he had opted for the illustrated alternative.
As for the story, to be fair, it isnâ(TM)t much to write home about. While it surrounds Juan, his family and some of his friends, it doesnâ(TM)t come off as the most memorable story of the year. Was it meant to reach such an accolade? Probably not. A story is good enough.
Ã?vila said that the film is not about the politics or the police, but about the love and support for life that people have when trying to escape the darkness that surrounds them. Ã?vila didnâ(TM)t grow up in the worst conditions, nor did he feel oppressed by the state. Instead, he lived a childhood like any other kid; he wanted to tell a story about how it felt to push away the negativity, to be surrounded by love as much as he could give it.