The Secret in Their Eyes DVD
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Directed by Juan Jose Campanella
Produced in 2009
Main Language - Spanish with English subtitles
Carla Quevedo, Guillermo Francella, Javier Godino, Pablo Rago, Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil
Both a police procedural and a look at memory and coming to terms with past traumas, this Argentinean crime drama made waves in 2010. Peter Wild salutes a challenging drama for grown-ups.
It was quite a surprise when this relatively unknown Argentinean film beat A Prophet and The White Ribbon to win the 2010 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Ostensibly a police procedural, it is also a probing examination of the evasiveness of memory and coming to terms with past traumas. Unsurprisingly, it was hugely successful in its native country.
It is Argentina. 1999. Benjamin Esposito (played by Ricardo Darin) is a divorced, retired police officer who decides to write a novel about a long abandoned cold case (a young schoolteacher who was raped and murdered some 25 years earlier). The film passes back and forth between 1999 and 1974, as Esposito and his partner Sandoval (Guillermo Francella playing a blinder as an alcoholic given to loudly and drunkenly denouncing the corrupt government) investigate the crime. This is complicated by the aforementioned corruption (best seen when Esposito’s right wing rival beats a confession from two innocent migrant workers) and blossoming feelings for his boss, Irene (played by the Picasso-faced Soledad Villamil) – feelings that still exist 25 years later when Esposito meets Irene again.
Less a whodunit than a look-at-the-effect-the-murder-had-on-all-these-people, The Secrets in Their Eyes is the kind of grown-up challenging drama many of us go to the cinema for in the first place, the kind of drama that, in lesser hands, could have easily have been trite or hammy. The intercutting between past and present and the combination of fictionalised memories, plausible conjecture and unverifiable reports helps create a genuinely complex movie that links private lives and troubled social currents over a quarter of a century. There are also great technical qualities to admire such as a long chase scene through a football stadium.
Not for nothing has Sight & Sound claimed The Secrets in Their Eyes is leading a vanguard of new Latin American movies.
Peter Wild on 13th December 2010
Author of 99 reviews
The 2010 Oscar-winning Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, the Argentinian crime drama The Secret in Their Eyes stars Ricardo Darin as a man haunted by the past. He plays a retired legal counsellor who, still deeply affected by an unsolved case involving the brutal rape and murder of a young girl 25 years after the event as well as his unreciprocated love with his superior, is writing a novel about the events in the hope of finding some kind of closure. Based on the novel by Eduardo Sacheri.
Length: 124 mins
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 10th January 2011
Cat No: MTD5582
- Interviews with Cast & Crew: In-depth insights from the creators
- Moments on Set: A behind the scenes look at the creative process
- Official UK theatrical trailer