After premièring this year in the official selection of BAFICI’s Human Rights Competition, the documentary El mensajero (Messenger on a White Horse) is set for a commercial release next week.
The film tells the story of former Buenos Aires Herald editor Robert Cox’s unswerving defiance of Argentina’s last military dictatorship. At a time when most local media chose to turn a blind eye to the reports of torture and forced disappearances, Cox and his fellow journalists at the newspaper found the courage to speak out.
Over four years, the London-born editor published hundreds of articles about the military’s crimes in the pages of the Herald, a small English-language daily newspaper with a history of defiance against censorship.
But his work would come at a cost: the military murdered dozens of journalists in Argentina during its eight-year reign and years of threats and intimidation against Cox culminated in a sinister threat sent to his 10-year-old son in December, 1979.
Cox was forced to leave the country with his family. His exile would be permanent and the fate of many of the people he tried to save would remain a mystery to him for decades.
The documentary, directed by Australian journalist and former Herald staffer Jayson MacNamara, includes archive footage from the BBC, the public TV stations of Germany, the Netherlands and Finland, most of which had never been shown before in Argentina, in addition to images of the Trial of the Juntas.
Cox, who currently lives in Charleston, South Carolina and spends part of the year in Argentina, is an honourary editor and contributor to the Times and will be present at a screening of the film at the Gaumont movie theatre on October 12.
WHEN AND WHERE
El mensajero. Screening in BA: twice daily at Gaumont (Rivadavia 1635) from October 12 and every Friday at 9pm from October 13 through mid-November at Amigos del Bellas Artes (Alcorta 2280). More info: messenger-movie.net