Reviewed at Puerto Rico Film Festival, Feb. 5, 1999. Original title: La Cara del Angel. Running time: 105 MIN.
With: Virginia Innocenti, Mario Pasik, Enrique Pinti, Mariano Marini, Facundo Garcia.
Once again, an Argentine pic attempts to probe the national psyche for clues to what fueled the cruel military junta that ruled from 1976 to 1982. “Angel Face” is most successful in linking the friendships, fantasies, curiosity and vulgarity of childhood with the workings of the surrounding society. Unfortunately, despite a few fine performances, many of the characters are drawn with a heavy brush, and the direction, photography and editing of this obviously low-budget affair are too uninspired to sustain such a weighty load. Outside of a few Latin American sites, draw will be limited.
Pic, which is dedicated to 30,000 who disappeared during the regime, begins strongly, as rightists strangle Nicolas’ (Mario Pasik) mom, whom they believe to have photographed their Buenos Aires march. Real culprit is Mom’s twin, who takes the boy to a rural school, where the bullies’ m.o. is not unlike that of the nation’s rulers. Nicolas begins to appropriate the kids’ fascistic sympathies, going so far as to take potshots at Jewish gravestones. Later, as a prisoner of war in the Falklands, a reformed Nicolas recognizes the brutality of his government.