La Guardería [Our House in Cuba ], a documentary film by Virginia Croatto, has just been released in Argentina. The film is about one of the places reserved for the children of Argentine Montonero fighters in the late 70s and early 80s, survivors who spent a few years of their lives in a shelter in Havana.
According to Cubadebate (in a detailed review—see link below), Cuba virtually saved them, along with their parents, from being kidnapped during the most repressive phase of the military dictatorship, which resulted in more than 30,000 dead and missing. The documentary has been awarded the first prize of Human Rights Competition at the 34th International Film Festival of Uruguay.
The group of 30 children between 8 and 10 years of age who lived there, such as the director, now remember the end of innocence and reflect on many questions about those years of uncertainty.
Director Virginia Croatto, shown in the photo below, remembers the nursery as “a place where we all want to go back from time to time,” adding that “[The nursery] is idealized in my memory, the collective life, the games, although I am also aware of how difficult, how hard it was for everyone—touched by death, by exile—it was space that provided peace in that maelstrom. A beautiful flowery haven, “said the author of the documentary film writing.
The review explains how the story takes place mainly in a big white house with a garden and palm trees, somewhere in Havana; it was home for many years for a large group of children—children of members of the Montoneros organization—who spent an important part of their lives away from their parents, who had left them there to protect them while they fought in the Montonero “counteroffensive” in Argentina.
In the film, these children—today grown men and women—tell their stories, fantasies, and memories between 1979 and 1983, speak about the people who gave them the love and care they needed, how they learned to interact with another culture without losing their own, how to live with nostalgia, looking forward to letters or news of their parents.
Here is a description from the Mar del Plata Film Festival: There was a time in Argentina, not so long ago, when the army wasn’t only one, official, but many and made up by civilians. In those times of courageous youths determined to fight to the death for that cause upheld around Peronism as well as some left-wing postulates, revolutionary Cuba was a beacon of hope in the world scheme –a Montonero nation. Our House in Cuba seeks to recover the curious adventure of a couple of Montonero parents and their small children, who were lovingly sent into exile in order for their parents to take up arms. Through family archive images, letters filled with love and idealism and the testimony of those children who are now adults –and have enough distance, both temporal and geographical–, Croatto invites us to think small and then big: that blood-spilled Argentina of inflexible ideologies, family as a universal support and identity, always diffuse, grounded in the most minuscule of things.
Read the Cubadebate review (in Spanish) at http://www.cubadebate.cu/noticias/2016/04/11/la-guarderia-un-filme-que-narra-como-cuba-salvo-a-ninos-argentinos-audio-y-video/#.VxBE-_lsND_
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