Argentine actor Ricardo Darín, who received a standing ovation last weekend by the public and critics in Venice for his role in the film Argentina, 1985, confesses that his commitment was to "narrate the trial of the military junta," which dominated his country as from 1976.
"Santiago [Mitre, the director] told me his idea, his need and desire to tell this story, the trial of the junta. I climbed aboard. It seemed to me important with much impact," he assured a group of journalists, including AFP.
"When I read the first draft of the script, I told him: ‘Count me in, I’ll do it," recalled the veteran actor, who is among the candidates for the Copa Volpi prize for his role as Julio Strassera, the prosecutor entrusted with the first trial of the chiefs of the bloodiest dictatorship in South America (1976-1983).
"We realised that everybody understood that story from their own standpoint," explained the actor.
"It was incredible. We did not stop crying, the people approached us to embrace us, to touch us," recounts Darín about the nine-minute ovation received during the premiere in the Palazzo del Cinema in the Venetian Lido.
The film of the historic Trial of the Juntas, carried out in 1985 (two years after the end of the dictatorship), of which several documentaries have been made, also explores the minds of the judicial team who were the protagnoists of one of the most important episodes in the return of democracy in Argentina.
"I was never a friend of the idea of constructing personalities based on people who existed. I rejected 10 projects for that reason," says Darín.
"I think that what we like as spectators of the personality of Strassera is seeing that arc of growth from a very low self-esteem which grows in conjunction with how they find tools to go ahead with the trial, like the proposal to form a young and inexperienced team but free from a toxic past," he explains.
The throbbing script, which mixes intrigue and intimate moments, surprises the audience with its humour, despite the drama, and by how it presents Strassera as a family man, an employee of the judicial system, a grey man who reluctantly ends up being the prosecutor entrusted with the historic accusation against those responsible for genocide.
"They called him the madman and he disguised himself to see if they recognised him. He did some very crazy things because he was carrying a very heavy weight," comments Darín.
"He was already an elderly man who had been working in the judicial system for a long time. He wouldn’t have been able to do everything he wanted during the dictatorship. That must have meant a weight on his conscience. Among other things the film has the intelligence to take those contradictions on board. It puts them on the table, it does not dodge them and that seems very good to me," he underlines.
The film is competing for the Golden Lion in Venice with 22 other pictures, a prize which will be awarded on Saturday (September 10).
by Kelly Velásquez, AFP