BUENOS AIRES — “Evita” is already making Argentinians cry — with outrage.

Protests broke out Monday and more demonstrations are expected as word gets out that the portrayal of local heroine Evita Peron in the film is anything but reverential.

The country’s acting president, Carlos Ruckauf (President Menem is in Vietnam), has called for a boycott of the film, even going so far as to urge citizens not to give their money to “Evita’s” director Alan Parker or to producer Andrew Vajna, both of whom were in town for the premiere screening Monday night.

The film goes wide on 85 screens Thursday.

Peronists rally

Some 100 demonstrators organized by Peronist leaders shouted their disapproval outside the Rex Theater during the premiere screening. Both Parker and Vajna sat impassively in their seats as they listened to the brief and tepid audience applause at the end of the screening.

Earlier that day Parker had braved a rowdy press conference, admitting to often irate reporters that this had been the most difficult film of his life, but that he had indeed tried to present a balanced portrait of the controversial Evita.

BV unperturbed

“Evita” distrib Buena Vista is not likely to be overly concerned about all the hoopla since the more noise Peronists make, the more likely people are to fill the moviehouses.

Oscar Scarinci, general manager of Buena Vista and Columbia in Argentina, told Daily Variety the distrib expects to draw in the crowds.

“The Argentinian audience is really looking forward to the movie. There is no need to worry, the response is going to be great,” he said.

Meanwhile, the country’s main labor confederation said that Evita’s image has been besmirched and that a chapel would be built to help make amends.

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