Argentina, 1985, the film chronicling the historic trial that saw the leaders of the country’s brutal 1976-1983 military junta convicted and sentenced for crimes against humanity committed during their reign of state terror, won big at the Golden Globes in the United States on Tuesday.
The movie, the highest-grossing film of the year in national cinemas and available to stream on Amazon Prime, was chosen as the Best Non-English Language Film by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).
Directed by Santiago Mitre and starring Ricardo Darín and Peter Lanzani as prosecutors Julio Strassera and Luis Moreno Ocampo, the film – inspired by true events – saw off competition from German entry All Quiet on the Western Front, Belgium’s Close, South Korean film The Decision to Leave and India’s RRR (Rise Roar Revolt).
"I want to share this with all those who, since the dictatorship, have fought to give us democracy in Argentina,” said a clearly emotional Mitre as he received the award alongside Darín at a star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles.
“I think democracy is something we have to keep fighting for,” he added in English, referencing the feature’s true-life roots.
Darín, a legend of local acting and star of classic movies, said in Spanish that following Argentina’s World Cup win in Qatar last December, the award would deliver another "great joy" for his compatriots.
"For the people of Argentina, after winning the World Cup, this is a great joy," said the veteran actor.
The acclamation for Argentina, 1985 ramps up the buzz surrounding the film. Already hailed at the Venice and San Sebastián film festivals, the movie will officially represent Argentina in the best international film category at the upcoming Oscars in Hollywood on March 12.
Success at the Globes is often seen as a potential bellwether for films hoping to win Oscars and Academy voters will begin casting ballots for nominations this Thursday.
The feature film portrays the work of prosecutor Julio Strassera (Darín), and his assistant Luis Moreno Ocampo ( Lanzani), as they gather evidence of the dictatorship’s crimes under a climate of threats.
A report with testimonies of the victims of the dictatorship served as the evidentiary basis for the trial in which five of the nine members of the three juntas of commanders of the regime were convicted of crimes against humanity.
The trial is considered a triumphant moment in Argentina’s recent history and the glory for the court system contrasts with the current perception of the local justice system. More than 78 percent of Argentines consider the functioning of the judicial system to be “bad” and 71 percent said they distrust the Supreme Court, according to polls carried out last August by the Equis & Proyección consultancy firm.
According to Pablo Llonto, a lawyer and plaintiff in the trials probing crimes against humanity, the film "is positive because it helps to build a bridge of memory with the younger generations and portrays a trial that told, for the first time, the heart of the horror with names and surnames.”