Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The Clan

The Dirty War in Argentina started in the late 1960s or mid 1970s and lasted until 1983 when the military lost power in Argentina. Thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of people were killed / "disappeared" during the period. There were also 340 concentration camps. Such an operation required lots of people. So what do those people do when the new government no longer requires their services? Arquímedes Puccio was one of those people. He and a couple of ex-colleagues decided to continue kidnapping people, this time for ransom. They kept their victims in the Puccio family home in a middle class suburb of Buenos Aires and two of Arquímedes's sons were part of the gang. To avoid the victims giving information to the police the Puccio gang routinely killed their victims once the ransom had been paid.

The Clan is a fictionalised story of the Puccio family and their kidnappings. It centres on the relationship between Arquímedes and his rugby star son Alejandro. Each needs the other. The son is a vital part of the gang and also knows too much to be allowed too much freedom away from dad, while Alejandro's life style and rugby career is facilitated by his dad's money and connections. The film contrasts family life, Alejandro's rugby career and his love life with the kidnappings and killings. The effect is to show that evil people can seem normal and live normal lives.

Guillermo Francella's impassive face and his pale blue eyes fixed on the world make an obvious villain and domineering father. His self confidence in what he is doing as father and criminal is convincing. Contrasting with him is curly haired Peter Lanzani with his lopsided grin playing Alejandro as the obviously popular rugby star son.

Arquímedes's wife and daughters seem oblivious to what is going on around them, and it would have been interesting if the film had explored their side of the story to some extent.

Arquímedes Puccio died in 2013 at age 83, having been released from jail a few years earlier.  Alejandro died at 2008.

Ian's rating 4/5

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