Teatro de guerra (Theatre of War)
The Falklands war began in 1982, when Argentina invaded and reclaimed islands occupied by British forces in the South Atlantic. The British army responded with force and over the course of ten weeks, 649 Argentine soldiers died and 255 British soldiers were killed before Argentina surrendered control of the islands back to the UK. Since then, there have been many larger, more complex conflicts that have faded the Falklands war into obscurity. For the veterans who fought it still remains a bizarre, painful trauma that stains their memory. Argentinian director and visual artist Lola Arias explores this period through its veterans with a compelling performance piece that re contextualises the war.
Theatre of War is a cross between interactive theatre and experimental film in which six veterans from both sides recall painful memories of their experience through music, performance, reenactment and video. The former soldiers perform theatrical and military exercises, recite monologues they have prepared and bond over archival footage that depicts the darkest moments of the conflict.
Arias creates a space of comfort for her cast that allows them to express their interpretations and reactions, which range from the comically absurd to immeasurable grief. Through the dark shadow of PTSD and repressed memory, cracks of pure joy emerge as the veterans form a rock band and play music together, and through the rehearsal process find a common ground on which to bond.
Most of the veterans were 18 or 19 when they fought against each other. Now in their early 50s, the men explore how the fighting has affected their lives over time and what traces remain.
This film essay isn’t focused on the politics behind the conflict or even the war itself but Arias does not shy away from political critique, as the soldiers are exposed to various material including a mask of Thatcher kissing a mask of General Galtieri. Theatre of War is an audacious re-examination of a puzzling conflict that seeks to uncover painful truth.
Teatro de guerra (Theatre of War) does not have a UK release date yet.
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