Thursday, October 22, 2015

Time Suspended (orig. Tiempo Suspendido) [2015]

MPAA (UR w.b. PG-13)  Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

IMDb listing listing* listing* (J. Tapia Sierra) review* (I. Martínez) review*

About Laura Bonaparte () obituary* (S. Calloni) obituary*
Time Suspended (orig. Tiempo Suspendido) [2015] [IMDb] []*(written and directed by Natalia Bruschtein [IMDb] []*) is a poignant and powerful documentary that played recently at the 51st (2015) Chicago International Film Festival about the director's grandmother, Laura Bonaparte [1]*[2]* one of the founders of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo [en.wikip] [es.wikip]* movement in Argentina on behalf of Los Desaparecidos (The Disappeared) [en.wikip] [es.wikip]* during the period of Argentina's "Dirty War" [en.wikip] [es.wikip]*

Laura Bonaparte, an Argentine psychoanalyst and activist, lost three of her four of her children, a well as a son-in-law, daughter-in-law and her ex-husband during the "Dirty War," ALL "Disappeared," each suffering widely-different yet always-fatal ends:

Her oldest Nani, an activist in the Provinces at the beginning of the Dirty War (still under the nominal Presidency of Isabel Peron, before the ascent of the outright military dictatorship) was buried in a mass unmarked grave in an Argentine cemetery.  After filing suit against President Peron, Laura was initially given her daughter's severed hands in a bag, and when she refused to accept them in lieu of _the rest of her daughter's body_, she was finally simply given _the rough coordinates_ of the _general area_ in the mass grave at the edge of a (Buenos Aires?) cemetery where she was _probably buried_.  No exhumation was done because presumably there were dozens to hundreds of other bodies buried there as well.

Later when Laura was already in exile in Mexico, her ex-husband was taken one early morning by the military out his apartment, shot and then set on fire along with others in an alley behind the building.  In an earlier recorded interview presented in the current documentary, Laura related that "since it was cold and there was snow on the ground, _a side of his face_ was preserved from the flames."

Finally, her son Victor along with his wife were dragged-out of their apartment, again by the authorities, their two children, one three y.o., the other one y.o., WERE LEFT SIMPLY AT THE APARTMENT BUILDING'S "FRONT DESK" WITH A NOTE GIVING THE PORTER INSTRUCTIONS OF HOW TO "REACH THE IN-LAWS" -- Laura being already in exile and Laura's ex-husband already being dead.  (Miraculously, the two little ones, Laura's grandchildren, were taken by kind souls to said in-laws and survived these horrors.  Indeed, miraculously ALL OF LAURA'S GRANDCHILDREN, including the director of this film, survived all these horrors and live to this day).  Victor on the other hand, was one of those who (it was learned only in the 1990s after the fall of the military dictatorship) were simply dropped from a plane POSSIBLY STILL ALIVE over the ocean to drown (after they were deemed no longer of use to the military interrogators ...).

Okay, Dr. Laura Bonaparte's life was marked by almost unspeakable horror.  And after the fall of the military dictatorship she had spent much of the rest of her life giving interviews, working on behalf of memorial projects across Argentina and Mexico so that these horrors would never be forgotten.

... 'Cept in her later years, and this is when the director, Natalia Bruschtein [IMDb] []*, her grand daughter, decided to pick-up the camera and make this final documentary, Laura Bonaparte came down with Alzheimers disease ... 

Yet despite ALL THE HORRORS and TRAJEDIES that I list above, this is a LOVELY, PLAIN-SPOKEN and ULTIMATELY UNBELIEVABLY POIGNANT FILM that will surely make you cry...

* Reasonably good (sense) translations of non-English webpages can be found by viewing them through Google's Chrome browser. 

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Javier Tapia Sierra

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