Last semester, I made a decision to sacrifice my monetarily valuable time at the Trinitonian to study in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  A lot of people spend their time “broadening their horizons”; however, I decided that my time would be spent better if I sat around and watched TV. Therefore, I am now an authority on Argentine books, musicians, and movies. Here are a few of my favorites:

Bands and Musicians

1. Luis Alberto Spinetta: Commonly called  one of the fathers of Argentine rock, Spinetta is one of the most sanctified figures in musical history.  He is not only responsible for writing beautiful songs about his own life, but also for writing politically charged music, most notably about the tyrannical Argentine dictatorships.

Songs like “Maribel se durmio” reference a time when thousands of Argentines were systematically killed by the government. Spinetta’s protest songs formed unity during one of the most horrific times in Argentine history.

 2. Soda Stereo: The English-speaking equivalent of this band would have to be a combination of U2 and The Beatles. This rock-and-roll ‘80s band founded by Gustavo Cerati, Zeta Bosio and Charly Alberti is well-known for making music that appealed to all of South America, therefore creating a type of unifying media. My personal favorite songs of theirs include “Cuando pase el temblor” and “Luna roja.”

 

Books

1. “Poesia completa”: Jorge Luis Borges is perhaps the most influential writer and poet in Argentina.  His writings are responsible for helping form both the Argentine and porteño (from Buenos Aires) identity because many of his works are about the beauty of the city and the country. This book of poems includes many of my personal favorites including “La lluvia” and “La Recoleta.”

For anybody interested in learning more about the cultural identity of Argentina or Buenos Aires, Borges is an essential read.

2. “Santa Evita”: Eva Peron was the second wife of Argentine president Juan Peron during his 1946-1955 term. Since Ava’s untimely death in 1952 she has been both sanctified for her works of charity and vilified because of her and her husband’s politics. In this book, Tomas Martínez examines the opposing viewpoints by telling the story of Eva’s body after her death, which was stolen, desecrated and moved around the world.

 

Movies

1.“Nueve reinas”: This classic Argentine movie stars the most famous Argentine actor Ricardo Darín as a con artist who, along with his protegee played by Gastón Pauls, attempt to scam a rich Spaniard by selling him counterfeit versions of rare, expensive stamps called the “Nine Queens.”  It is a well-made, witty, and intelligent film that can be enjoyed by any audience (as long as you have subtitles).

2. “La historia oficial”: During the 1970s and 1980s, tens of thousands of Argentines were systematically killed by the military dictatorship.  These people are called los desaparecidos or “the disappeared.”  If these people had children, they were given to families that supported the dictatorship.

“La historia oficial” is about a wealthy woman living in Buenos Aires who begins to suspect that her daughter may be one of the lost children. This movie is an excellent depiction and commentary on very controversial and typically censored time in Argentine history.