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Clandestine Childhood

4.3 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

Bonus features include a complementary short film, Director's Statement, and Bio, amongst other features.

Review

WINNER - 10 Awards - Premios Sur (Argentina's Oscars)
WINNER - Casa de America Award - San Sebastián Int'l FF
Official Selection - Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight)
WINNER - Coral Award - Havana Int'l Film Festival
WINNER - Best Ibero American Feature - Guadalajara Int'l Film Festival
WINNER - Best Actor - Guadalajara Int'l Film Festival
Official Selection - San Sebastián Int'l Film Festival
Official Selection - Toronto Int'l Film Festival
Official Selection - Festival do Rio
Official Selection - Philadelphia Film Festival
Official Selection - Abu Dhabi Film Festival
Official Selection - Denver Film Festival
Official Selection - Palm Springs Int'l Film Festival
Official Selection - Santa Barbara Int'l Film Festival
Official Selection - Portland Int'l Film Festival
Official Selection - San Diego Latino Film Festival
Official Selection - Dallas Int'l Film Festival
Official Selection - Cleveland Int'l Film Festival
Official Selection - Chicago Latino Film Festival
Official Selection - Kansas City Latin Film Festival
Official Selection - Port Townsend Film Festival
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Gripping! A quietly effective [and] earnestly heartfelt cine-memoir. --Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter

The appeal to audiences here is clear...A charismatic boy coping with an impossible situation can t help but draw the viewer in. --Jay Weissberg, Variety

The appeal to audiences here is clear...A charismatic boy coping with an impossible situation can t help but draw the viewer in. --Jay Weissberg, Variety

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Natalia Marisa Oreiro Iglesias, César Troncoso, Ernesto Alterio, Teo Gutiérrez Moreno
  • Directors: Benjamin Ávila
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Film Movement
  • DVD Release Date: May 7, 2013
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009V19302
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,408 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 29, 2012
Format: DVD
Let me state upfront that I am a big fan of the Film Movement library of indie and foreign films, so much so that earlier in 2012, I finally gave in and joined the "DVD of the Month" club. This film is the December, 2012 release of that and incidentally this film is also "Year 10, Film 12" of the club, meaning this film marks the 120th movie to be released by the Film Movement DVD of the Month club.

"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.
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Format: DVD
The Argentinean drama "Clandestine Childhood" is clearly a very personal film to its writer/director Benjamin Avila. Set in the late seventies, Argentina was under a strict military dictatorship and this created one of the most harrowing times in the country's history. The brutality of the junta is well documented, as are the efforts of those who sought to fight oppression. The army struck down anyone suspected of being in an opposition group with many being murdered and more simply vanishing with no trace. Indeed, the film's dedication is to Avila's mother who is one of those who disappeared. So it's easy to see why he would want to tell a story about a boy growing up in this environment. I mention the historical aspect that sets the scene for "Clandestine Childhood" because it helps to have a little context. If you know nothing of what occurred, the screenplay does not spell it out. While the political climate is certainly prevalent and quite significant throughout, the primary story thread is more intimate. In many ways, this is simply a standard coming-of-age story. And as we see things through the eyes of the twelve year old protagonist, much of the bigger picture is only glimpsed in small snippets.

Our young hero is Juan. As the movie opens, a targeted act of violence forces Juan's parents to flee from their home. Under an elaborate escape mechanism, they exit the country and then return with new names and documents. Much of the movie is how Juan rebuilds his childhood under the assumed identity of Ernesto. He goes to school, he experiences young love, and he bonds with his uncle. The danger of discovery is always lurking, but Juan just strives to be a normal kid. Although wizened by circumstances, he clearly understands that this is not some great adventure.
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Format: DVD
For so many of us the governmental complexities that seem to occur with regularity in South America never seem to be clear. CLANDESTINE CHILDHOOD (`Infancia clandestine') offers the opportunity to not only be informed about the machinations of such movements, but also allows us entry into the personal view of the changes that political events impact so powerfully on the citizens.

Benjamín Ávila who wrote (with Marcelo Müller) and directed this brilliant little film is sharing his experiences of living through the times that his story relates. The year is 1979 and an Argentinean family who have been exiled in Cuba return to Argentina as Montoneros - a guerilla group fighting against the military junta that controlled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. In a coup on March 24, 1976, a military junta seized power in Argentina and went on a campaign to wipe out left-wing terrorism with terror far worse than the one they were combating. Between 1976 and 1983 - under military rule - thousands of people, most of them dissidents and innocent civilians unconnected with terrorism, were arrested and then - los desaparecidos. The father Horacio (César Troncoso) and mother Cristina (the incredibly beautiful Uruguayan actress Natalia Oreiro), baby girl Vicki, and 12 year old son Juan are forced to change their names and hide from the authorities so that the guerilla warfare can be accomplished. There is one other member of the family - Uncle Beto (Ernesto Alterio) - who seems to be the most solid tie between Juan (now called `Ernesto') and his family's condition.

`Ernesto' enters school, discovers Maria (Violeta Palukas) and from there the story becomes more one of a blossoming love than a country under military control.
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