Argentina | Spain 2015
Opening March 3, 2016
Directed by: Pablo Trapero
Writing credits: Julian Loyola, Esteban Student
Principle actors: Guillermo Francella, Peter Lanzani, Lili Popovich
It’s 1982 and Argentina has returned to a workable form of democracy after seven years of dictatorship and terror. Arquímedes Puccio is a perfect husband to his wife Epifania and a loving father to their five children. They live in an upscale part of Buenos Aires. Everyone goes about his daily chores; his wife is a teacher; the oldest son, Alejandro, is a successful rugby player; they have dinner together every evening. The neighbors respect them.
Slowly we realize that all is not as it seems. Father Puccio knocks on each child’s door and reminds them that dinner is ready. At the same time he takes a covered dish to a backroom where a man is held captive. Nobody in the house seems to care or perhaps they are not aware of an unfamiliar occupant or that their father has kidnapped an important person in order to collect a huge ransom. Earlier he had no qualms about using son Alejandro as bait to kidnap a well-known rugby player, Ricardo, who pays with his life. Perhaps Alejandro suspects something, but is unwilling to believe that his father could be involved in crime. There is some mystery about one son Guillermo who “disappeared,” perhaps to New Zealand. Possibly he wished to escape the authority of his father before he could be drawn into any participation in these crimes. Finally in 1985 government authorities raid the Puccio home in the search for a missing woman.
El Clan is the true story of a real family, told in flashbacks. It’s thought that Puccio might have had friends in high government places from the pre-democracy years, which slowed the investigative process. The film was a huge success in Argentina and won prizes at the Venice and Toronto film festivals, as well as in Spain. It played at the 2015 Filmfest Hamburg. (Becky T.)