ARGENTINA / 2007 / Spanish / Color, B&W / 35mm (1:1.85) / 150 min
Director, Script: Nicolás Prividera
Photography: Carla Stella, Josefina Semilla, Nicolás Prividera
Editing: Malu Herdt
Sound: Demian Lorenzatti, Ruben Piputto
Producer: Pablo Ratto
Executive Producers: Vanessa Ragone, Pablo Ratto
Production Company, Source: trivial
In 1976, under the Argentine military dictatorship, Marta Sierra disappeared suddenly. Her son, director Nicolás Prividera, was six years old at the time. He gathers together fragments of his lost mother’s life as he questions people at relevant organizations, his mother’s old colleagues, and her friends in the underground movement at the time she vanished. This work is not only a suspense-laden depiction of Marta’s disappearance but also a revelation of the circumstances in Argentine history under which numerous people were killed and erased by a military dictatorship. The director’s determination not to let memory fade is moving.
[Director’s Statement] After having accepted for a long time what the State and my family had silenced regarding my mother’s disappearance during the last Argentinian military dictatorship, I throw myself into an investigation of the real traces and signs of the disappearance. As a complement to the judicial process I try to put in action, I start my own personal investigation (in a “self-documentary”), looking for people who were or are related to my mother’s story.
The course of the inquiry follows the parallel lives of my mother Marta (the letter “M” stands for mother, but also for Montoneros, a Peronist guerrilla group) and the final confluence between her personal and political life (in a time when being labeled could mean life or death). Because the search for the people responsible becomes an inquiry into the role civil society played in history, and that question is still present . . .
We cannot leave the past behind, simply because the connections with that past are not broken but active (“the murderers are still among us”). Nothing can keep us away from that distance—and that closeness. But cinema can be a contribution, a symbolic way of rebuilding memory.
Because if justice fails, a movie may be, among many other things, a way of filling in the gaps of what is missing. It may be a small contribution toward repairing that huge damage. A personal and non-transferable gesture, but for that very same reason, extendable to others: if each one of us contributes our own personal images, our own stories, or some other piece of the puzzle, sooner or later we will be able to glimpse a figure in the tapestry. It is only then that personal memory becomes the memory of the whole society, and turns into not only an inalienable right, but an unavoidable duty.
Born in Buenos Aires in 1970, in the 90s he graduated from the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), receiving a degree in Communication. He also studied in the Centro de Experimentación y Realización Cinematográfica (The Center of Cinematographic Experimentation and Production)—at the Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales (INCAA / The National Institute of Cinema and Audio-Visual Arts). M is his opera prima, winner of Best Film in the Latin-American Competition and the FIPRESCI Prize at the latest Mar del Plata Film Fest.