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FUNNY, DIRTY LITTLE WAR

Argentina, 1983 (MIFF 1984)

Director: Héctor Olivera

Taking place in a small rural town, Colonia Vela, in 1974, the film illustrates how rivalries between right and left-wing factions within Peronism led to merciless civil strife which threatened the country with ruin.

Made shortly before the election of President Alfonsin—who Olivera supported—the film stirred heated controversies in Argentina, being one of the very rare Argentinean films to deal with contemporary political subjects. The story follows closely a short novel by exiled writer Osvaldo Soriano, first printed in Europe, and only several years later in Argentina.

With the help of county mayor Guglielmi and union leader Kenaldo, the local Peronist boss plans to get rid of Colonia Vela's deputy mayor, Fuentes, to whom he is indebted. They tell him that he has to fire his assistant, Mateo, because he is a Marxist, Fuentes refuses, and, being threatened, decides to fight for his just cause. He turns his office into a fortress and, with the assistance of four companions, prepares 10 defend himself.

Infuriated, Guglielmo employs a death squadron, which attacks with heavy gunfire but is defeated by clouds of an insecticide sprayed from a plane. A group of leftist youths take up Fuentes' cause and threaten to kill the sheriff who supports Guglielmo if the attack on Fuentes is not stopped, Eventually, most of Colonia Vela's population are involved in a bloodbath battle which can no longer be stopped, A fast-paced action film, "Olvido" has major merits as a witty-tragicomedy with its many comic details counter pointing the political authenticity of the story.

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