Argentina Sends 'Clandestine Childhood' to Oscars

Benjamin Avila’s political coming-of-age story premiered in Cannes.

BUENOS AIRES –Benjamin Avila’s Clandestine Childhood was voted today to be Argentina’s Foreign Oscar bid. The votes were counted live in a conference this morning by the Argentine Film Academy, which is headed by Oscar winner Juan Jose Campanella (The Secret In Their Eyes). The results showed a very tight race between Avila’s film, Armando Bo’s The Last Elvis, and Pablo Trapero’s White Elephant.

STORY: Clandestine Childhood: Cannes Review

“This was a year of great Argentine films”, said Avila when learning the Academy’s decision. “So that makes this decision to represent the country an even greater honor”.

Starred by Teo Gutierrez Moreno, Natalia Oreiro, and Ernesto Alterio, Clandestine Childhood is a moving semi-autobiographical tale about a young boy named Juan in the late 1970s living a clandestine life with his family. Played by Uruguayan actors Natalia Oreiro and Cesar Troncoso, Juan’s parents are guerrilla fighters in the Montoneros organization, which fought against the last military dictatorship in Argentina.

The film is related to Avila’s personal story, since he himself had to hide his identity as a young boy due to his mother’s involvement in Argentina’s political resistance. Avila’s mother was kidnapped and disappeared by the military junta, while his brother was abducted and later found by Grandmothers of Plaza De Mayo, a human rights organization that searches for the 500 children of desaparecidos who were victims of a systematic plan of appropriation by security forces.

STORY: Argentina, Venezuela Team Up for Common Digital Norm

The film was co-produced between Habitacion 1520 and Historias Cinematograficas. Producer Luis Puenzo, head of HC, won an Oscar in 1986 with The Official Story, a drama about a woman who finds out her adoptive daughter is actually the kidnapped child of political dissidents murdered by the junta.