"Seductive! An intimate, richly tactile and impressionistic picture of a 'once-upon-a-time' in childhood."
– The New York Times,
"Impressive! Ãvila is an artist worth keeping an eye on."
– Time Out New York,
"Vibrant! A charming, involving first feature!"
– The Village Voice,
Argentina, 1979. After years of exile, Juan (12) and his family come back to Argentina under fake identities. Juan's parents and his uncle Beto are members of the Montoneros Organization, which is fighting against the Military Junta that rules the country. Because of their political activities they are being tracked down relentlessly, and the threat of capture and even death is constant. However, Juan's daily life is also full of warmth and humor, and he quickly and easily integrates into his new environment. His friends at school and the girl he has a gigantic crush on, Maria, know him as Ernesto, a name he must not forget, since his family's survival is at stake. Juan accepts this and follows all of his parents' rules until one day he is told that they need to move again immediately, and leave his friends and Maria behind without an explanation. This is a story about militancy, undercover life, and love. The story of a clandestine childhood.
JeffinSeattle - Customer Review
A very good account of a young boy in hiding with his socialist parents. This is a time when Argentina hunts down anyone with left-leaning political views. Political opponents simply vanished. This yong boy assumes a new identity and tries to assume a normal childhood and a relationship with a girl inhis school. This film is very well done!
Paul Allaer - Customer Review
"Clandestine Childhood" (2012 release from Argentina; 110 min.) brings the story of an Argentinean family in exile in Cuby in the late 1970s, when the parents (who are members of the Monteneros guerrilla movement) decide to return to Argentina under assumed identities, so as to resume the underground fight agains the Argetine military Junta government. The parents bring along their 2 children, 11 yr. old Juan and a baby sister. Juan's new assumed name is Ernesto. Ernesto attends school as a 5th grader and he develops a crush on a class mate of his, a girl named Maria. Will Ernesto's crush on Maria be reciprocated by her? Will Ernesto's parents continue their 'subversive' ways against the military dictatorship? Will it all end well? To tell you more of the plot would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out. Several comments: director Benjamin Avila based the story on his own memoirs of those years, and in the liner notes that come with the DVD, he stresses that "this is not a political film" but of course it really is, even though it is also a tender coming of age story. The Montoneros underground movement against the Argentine military dictatorship was ultmately not very successfull (and neither was the military dictatorship, which gave up power after 7 years in 1983). The coming of age story of 11 yr. old Juan/Erensto is brought beautifully and with just the right amount of melancholy without becoming too sentimental. I enjoyed this movie from start to finish. But wait! there is more! As usual, there is a bonus short film, and the fascinating thing is that it is director Avila's earlier 25 min. short film called "Veo Veo" (I See I See), which in turn was the basis for "Clandestine Childhood", even though "Veo Veo" is set a few years earlier and the Juan character is now an 8 yr. old boy. Do not miss it! In all, "Clandestine Childhood" is yet another winning and worthy addition to the ever-growing Film Movement library. Happy 10 years, Film Movement, and keep those great indie and foreign releases coming!