Remember Bambi, that carefree fawn galavanting about in the forest before reaching his (Spoiler Alert) mum’s untimely death? Those were Patagonian trees. How about the grandiose Himalayas in Seven Years in Tibet? They’re the Andes acting as location-doubles. As for the bleak mountains on the border of Chile and Argentina in Alive? – OK, that’s actually Canada faking it. The film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s cult novel On The Road is not the American West. It’s Bariloche and the picturesque town Villa La Angostura, particularly around the snow covered Cardenal Samoré border. You can be forgiven for thinking a Buenos Aires’ dirt mine is the Grand Canyon.
Argentina has long seduced international directors with its lower production costs and scenery. Seems this country at the end of the world was always destined to sparkle as a star of the silver screen (after all the word ‘Argentina’ comes from latin the ‘argento’ meaning ‘silver’). If you fancy some classic Argentine film recommendations, see here, however, I went on the cinematic trail to uncover the international films where Argentina’s the star – sometimes in the most unexpected way.
If you don’t like musicals, then don’t bother – unless you like shoes. 40 years after her death, the life story of Eva Duarte de Perón isn’t the most historically accurate, but hey, Madonna earned the Guinness World Record title of ‘Most costume changes in a film’.
STARS: Forget the Queen of Pop and singing Antonio Banderas, the iconic Casa Rosada rules this film. Special appearances too from Colón Opera House and Retiro train station.
RESPECT TO: 3,000 extras came to see Madonna stick her head out of a balcony at the government building to address the masses gathered at Plaza de Mayo.
RECREATE: This isn’t Titanic. You’re not king of the world. You can’t recreate the balcony scene – unless you have 3,000 friends to act as extras (and Facebook friends don’t count). If you’re big-time you could stay in the Four Seasons where Madonna conceived whilst filming.
DON’T: get into a debate about this film with a Peronist, as it was seen as a commercial manipulation of an important figure. The famous balcony scene had to be shot at night to avoid protests, because in reality that never happened.
Grab a bottle of Malbec and take a swig every time you spot Argentina in the films featured in the full article in The Real Argentina, Nov 2011: