Janice Rodrigues | NT BUZZ
A filmmaker takes inspiration from reality and Argentinean director Pablo Trapero has always tried to project just this in most of his films. He was intrigued by the story of one family, set in 1985, when Argentina was just coming to grips with its newly restored democracy. The family, Puccio, kidnapped four people for ransom in Buenos Aires in the 1980s, but on receiving the money, murdered three of the hostages.
In absence of the director, Pablo Trapero, the crew including the production in charge, Micaela Buye, editor Alejandro Carrillo and sound designer Vicente D’elia spoke about the film. “Pablo has been working on it for almost 10 years. We began investigating about the family and the crimes and spent more time deciding on the film. So, yes, it was a really interesting project to produce,” says Micaela.
The making of the film involved humongous research as there was very little information available. When the crime came out into the open, it was very hard for the country to accept, as the Puccios didn’t give the impression of being a criminal clan. They were like any other family in the neighbourhood, but thanks to the incredible research done, Pablo could finally piece together the whole story. “He spoke to judges, families and people around, families of the victims. That way he collected a lot of information. We put it together with our ideas, and that is the movie!” says Vicente. Alejandro added that the victims’ families were the most helpful: “He met the widow of the third victim, and the brother of the first victim. They were actively pursuing the Puccio family. The most important thing to do was make the families understand that we were trying to do justice in portraying the clan as evil.” Micaela added that the families, who were at the premiere, were very emotional and said that the movie did justice to the victims and portrayed the “negative charge of the Puccio family in the right way.”
The portrayal of the Puccio family according to the crew is symbolic of what happened in Argentina at that particular time. “I think films are reflection of society and, on the other hand, films should be a reflection of society. There is an intended aspect, that is when you are conscious about what you’re trying to reflect, and then there is an unintentional aspect, when you’re trying to show something you didn’t think you’d want to show,” says Alejandro.
He also says that this idiom of cinema reflecting society is seen in directors like Pablo. He was all praises for the director: “Pablo is very conscious as a director. He is very conscious of film as a language and he doesn’t make mistakes. And when you work with Pablo, you actually feel that he is trying to show what society is like. If you look at his earlier films you understand who you’re dealing with. He is quite intent on showing the dark sides of our society. And Argentina, unfortunately, has very very dark sides and fortunately we have Pablo who is there to show them to us.”
The film has a very interesting background score. The music used to represent the good and evil is often contradictory; there is peaceful music when the Puccio family is on screen and dark music when the police are involved. On the contradictory notes and the importance of the background score Vicente says: “That is Pablo! He uses the tools in all the ways he can. He tells people things that you may not see or watch in the movie. Music makes the audience feel things. Some scenes were edited by the music. Pablo and I worked on a lot of music. We changed a lot of the tracks, and finally decided on the music that is currently in the movie. I am happy it is getting a good response.”
Though Alejandro was brought in to edit the movie only when Pablo needed another eye, he says he was really taken up with the way the film was shot and is really pleased to see it get so much appreciation: “We are extremely overwhelmed with the response it has been getting across the world.” Vicente adds that it’s overwhelming that the film has been chosen to close IFFI. “Whenever a film festival chooses a film for the opening or the closing, the festival is trying to make a statement about what the festival believes is good art of filmmaking. It’s no less than extraordinary and a very good honour. I’m sure Pablo would say the same about it,” says Vicente.
Ask them about how easy or difficult is it to make movies in Argentina, Micaela responds: “It’s difficult to find the money for the movie. In movies like this one, when you have a director like Pablo, it’s easier to find the money from the private sector”.
It surprise Indians that Argentinean filmmakers have the freedom to make films without the eye of a censor board. They have certification but no censorship. “It is one of the things we got in the moment of the re-establishment of our democracy in 1983. We only experiment with self censorship when we believe that some language or some idea would hurt the film commercially. The production companies try not to risk the film being sanctified or put down by the media, but there is no outside agency that comes and cuts scenes out,” says Alejandro.