EVA PERON: THE TRUE STORY
Starring: Esther Goris & Victor Laplace
Runtime: 117 minutes
Distributor: Aleph Producciones S.A.
Director: Juan Carlos Desanzo
Producer: Maria de la Paz Marino
Writer: Jose Pablo Feinmann
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The movie opens with Eva lambasting the Union leaders regarding their apparent lack of courage to nominate her for vice-president of Argentina. The central storyline involves Juan Peron’s ambivalent attitude about his wife running as his vice president, and Eva’s drive to get him to concede to her political ambitions. Peron, at first, tells his fellow army officers that Eva would be a good running mate because, according to Peron, God needs the devil to make him look good, and Eva would make him look good because of her wicked ways. Furthermore, he believes that she is controllable. However, after she emasculates him in several conversations, he realizes that she is uncontrollable and decides that she must back off from the political scene.
In the movie, important background information is revealed in flashbacks such as Eva chastising the railroad workers for going on strike against the Peron government, which, according to her flashback diatribe, represents the workers. Watching this spunky speech clearly reveals the flaws of socialism. In fact, throughout the movie, we see that the Peronista Party consists of both international and national socialists who may war with each other but essentially have the same agenda: dictatorship.
EVA is a study in contradictions. She wants the poor people to love her as one of them, and yet she purges any Union leader who opposes her and subjugates the labor movement to Peron’s militaristic control. She is motivated by revenge against the middle class throughout her life because, as a little girl, she and her siblings were condemned as illegitimate when they went to attend the funeral of Eva’s biological father. This affront drives her to try to crush the establishment forever. At the same time, she wants all the pretty baubles that are the mark of the rich and famous.
Ultimately, the portrait of Eva Peron in this movie is of a very intense emotional woman whose hatred and ambition literally consumed her. Unlike the American musical movie, EVITA, in the Argentine movie we clearly see the irreconcilable drives that are central to her character. Also, we come to understand the political landscape when her minister of propaganda informs her that the people call him “Goebbels.” She says, “Does that mean that they call me ‘Eva Braun’ and Juan ‘Hitler’?” Thus, in this movie the connections are made clear between Argentina’s national socialism and the national socialism of Adolph Hitler.
Furthermore, the movie shows that Eva was a low class prostitute. She swears constantly while few around her do the same.
Sadly enough, when Eva is dying of cancer and asks a priest about God, the priest makes the silly statement that there are things that God can’t prevent. Eva is too smart for the priest and understands that if God can’t prevent something, then he is not God. Therefore, she concludes that if God doesn’t prevent her cancer, than he is her enemy. Thus, this priest missed the opportunity to present the Truth, and later he goes out on the street and holds a mass for Eva which is painfully idolatrous. Soon thereafter, Eva’s gay dress designer tells her quite bluntly that both of them are damned.
Having been made on a $3 million dollar budget, EVA PERON sometimes looks like a TV movie. However, Argentine actress Ester Goris’s portrayal of Eva is brilliant, because she is given the room to express her character. Even though the American musical EVITA has a $60 million dollar budget, EVA PERON may do well at the box office by helping people to understand the American musical. Containing many obscenities and implied sexual situations, the movie is a unapologetic look at a fascinating 20th Century leader.
The Argentine Academy Award entry for best foreign film, EVA PERON: THE TRUE STORY, provides important historical information necessary to understand the musical EVITA. While EVITA concentrates on image and music at the neglect of character and story, EVA PERON concentrates on character and story and so helps us understand this complex illegitimate girl who claws her way to the top. The movie opens with Eva lambasting Union leaders regarding their lack of courage to nominate her for vice-president of Argentina. The central plot involves Juan Peron’s ambivalent attitude about his wife running as his vice president and Eva’s drive to get him to concede to her political ambitions. When Eva emasculates Juan in several conversations, he realizes that she is uncontrollable and decides that she must back off from the political scene.
EVA is a study in contradictions. She wants the poor people to love her, yet she destroys anyone who opposes her. Unlike EVITA, here we see the irreconcilable drives that are central to Eva’s character. The movie shows that Eva was clearly a low class prostitute. Having been made on a small budget, EVA PERON sometimes looks like a TV movie; however, Argentine actress Ester Goris’s portrayal of Eva is brilliant.