26 January 2018 | NostalgicQuixote
Power on Trial
The year 1984 saw the production of two historical films in Argentina: _Asesinato en el Senado de la Nación_ (Juan José Jusid) and _La Rosales_. As is known, historical films comment not only on the past, but also on the present. The purpose of these two films was to expose governmental corruption.
Set in 1892, _La Rosales_ can best be described as a courtroom drama that reconstructs the events surrounding the sinking of the Rosales ship, which carried both civilians and members of the Argentinean Armed Forces. Most of the civilians perished; most of the military men survived. Coincidence? Of course not. The film combines courtroom scenes with flashbacks from the catastrophe in order to put together the pieces of this puzzle.
While _La Rosales_ features many stars, such as Héctor Alterio and a young Ricardo Darín (who would work together again in Juan José Campanella's masterful _El hijo de la novia_), the film does not seem to have a protagonist. The great Ulises Dumont, who played memorable roles in _La parte del león_ (Adolfo Aristarain, 1978), _La revancha_ (Adolfo Aristarain, 1981), and _No habrás más penas ni olvido_ (Héctor Olivera, 1983), seems at first to be the main character, an Italian laborer who survived the sinking of the ship and demands to get paid for his work. His screen time, however, decreases towards the end. It is Arturo García Buhr who comes closest to being a protagonist. He plays Captain Jorge Lowry, the judge who is committed to justice, the honest man who will not give in to peer pressure.
_La Rosales_ is not a perfect film. The soundtrack is often annoying, and the Italian accents are not accurate. It is nevertheless successful in its portrayal of corruption, and it is optimistic enough to emphasize that even if things are rotten in the State, there will always be honest people who seek the truth. _La Rosales_ is also David Lipszyc's best film. He is known mostly for this one and for _Volver_ (1982), which seemed to me simplistic, inaccurate, and downright corny. _La Rosales_, on the other hand, is a keeper.