A Funny Dirty Little War
Time Out saysA profound, aptly titled insight into the madness of recent Argentinian political history. Set in a fictional town near Buenos Aires, the year is 1974: an aged Peron has been returned to power and is encouraging a purge of the leftist forces (his original supporters in the '40s) by the same right wing opportunists who brought about his exile in 1955. Mayor, Secretary General and Police Chief each pass down the responsibility of removing a 'Peronist' administrator and his 'subversive' assistant from the town hall. Verbal banter and threats escalate into a full-scale bloody siege when the building itself becomes a refuge to those who cling to a position variously labelled Marxist or even apolitical. Olivera's skill is to proceed from a farcical opening to a dramatic and black conclusion without losing sight of the appalling reality behind the jokes: torture here is casually enacted in a schoolroom where physical agony is juxtaposed with portraits of national heroes and the naive drawings of children. Wittily scripted, furiously paced, deftly performed, this is explosive political comedy that demonstrates the absurd division of groups who believed in some sort of salvation through Peron. Don't die for me, Argentina - but they did.