Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ricardo Darin brings charm from Argentina

We don't think of Argentina much when it comes to entertainment, except perhaps for the tango.  Ricardo Darin, born in 1957 has the looks and charm of a Hollywood star, but is most comfortable in Spanish.  His name helps sell movie tickets in South America and Europe and has a presence in North America.

As the son of two actors Ricardo was able to start his career at age 10.  He became involved with tv soap operas and comedies developing a strong fan base and winning a few awards.  He also acted in live theatre and directed a few plays.

My first Darin viewing was with  "El Aura" put on by the Art Gallery of Hamilton giving it a little extra prestige.  Ricardo played an epileptic taxidermist who fancied himself a clever robber of a casino.  He won a best actor award and left an interesting impression.

"XXY" was viewed years later and like almost all the others was a library DVD.  It was on a delicate topic.  Ricardo acted the father of a child who was a hermaphrodite (both sexes)  Trying to let the child decide what sex with lots of social pressures coming from unexpected directions..

Three movies switched from drama to emphasize his comic timing. "The Education of Fairies" was serious, but had a lot of humour.  He played a toy inventor who as he put it, fell in love with two people all at once, actually a widowed mother and her son.  This one was set in Spain and was the only one I saw not set in Argentina.

"Son of the Bride" was a very well regarded movie winning lots of awards and nominations including best actor award for Ricardo.  Norma Aleandro who I admired from other films played a senile mother whose husband wanted to remarry her as therapy.  Ricardo played an irresponsible but loving son.  This was one of many collaborations with writer director Juan José Campanella.  Juan was born in Argentina, but spent over 20 years in the United States where he graduated from the New York University Film School and went onto to direct in such tv series as "House M.D.", and "Law and Order".  Returning to Argentina he directed and wrote some award winning scripts.

"Nine Queens" was another comic role this time as a con artist in 2000.  Lots of twists, but I admit I had seen some of the twists before.  There was a later Bollywood revision in 2005 with Abhishek Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra, but not quite as good.  Ricardo won another best actor award.

"Carancho" is a film noir based on how too many fatal traffic accidents are handled by crooked lawyers.  Ricardo plays a repentant lawyer who teams up with an emergency doctor and deals with crooked cops and insurance companies.  A powerful drama with lots of twists.

"The Eyes of the Suspect" has been considered a masterpiece perhaps because Juan José Campanella co-wrote, directed and edited it.  The film won Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Ricardo played a former justice lawyer digging up an old unresolved rape/murder and an old unrequited love. Apparently the leading lady, Soledad Villamil had acted out romances with Ricardo in earlier films that were hits with the public.

Also has tried his hand at directing a movie, but with limited success, "La Sena."

"Wild Tales" recently got attention as nominated for best foreign film Oscar and did win numerous other awards.  It is six short stories (Ricardo in only one, but received his award nominations).  The music was composed by another Argentine export, Gustavo Santaolalla who is known in America for "Babel" and "Brokeback Mountain,"but has done the music for movies over Latin America, Europe and even India.

Going through IMDB listing for Ricardo he does appear as a leading figure in some above average rated movies with interesting plot lines.  Argentina has an interesting politics and some of that is reflected in his movies.

My motivation for writing this blog is that I would like to have more access to this actor's films.  He himself is a joy to watch, but perhaps more importantly he has been selective in his script choices.  I watched a video where someone asked him if he wanted to act in Hollywood, and basically he said he had been offered bits, but they weren't as "interesting" as what he is offered elsewhere.  Everyone who asks for one of his movies increases the pressure so we can all enjoy some high class entertainment.  I have only seen the movies that I have bolded and there are lots more as yet unseen.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I like your blog! It's true, Ricardo is an amazing actor (also a sweet humble man!). As you're interested in his films, maybe you’d like to check his last one called "Truman". In fact, today was released in Argentina but it was introduced in Toronto Film Festival and San Sebastian Film Festival in these days with great reviews. Now he's in Spain and everybody is talking about the movie which makes him the favourite to win a Donostia award as best actor in San Sebastian. I watched the film today and it's so moving, every careful detail, every subtle gesture, really well crafted... I have to tell you something you may don't notice if someday you watch the movie: as his role is an argentine actor who has lived for so many years in Madrid, in his flat you could see pictures which the camera barely shows but as an argentine I could tell that they were biggest hits in Darín's career as one which portraits him alone with a tuxedo and it says "Hermitage 1983" (a theather in Buenos Aires where he used to do a musical with his ex girlfriend, Susana which is huge star and beloved as Oprah in Argentina) and another picture in which is dancing tap with another man (Arturo Puig who have worked with him in "Thesis on an Homicide" and in the same play with Susana called “Sugar”- a musical version from "Fanfare of love" but you propably watched its remake called "Some like it Hot" with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. Darín’s character was Lemmon's "Jerry"). Also I have to tell you, both Susana and Arturo were the young rising stars of a 1970’s movie and it was Ricardo's first film at the age of 12-13 years old called "He nacido en la Rivera" ("I was born in the Rivera" - a poor neighborhood-). So I think it's a wink to his own career and friends. It let you know in the past he might have certain success before lose it all. Another thing I want to let you know is that he told in a very deep interview with a famous psychoanalyst & journalist that he felt deeply moved by his role (a man with terminal cancer) as he remind him his own father who also died of cancer and he cried a lot when he read the script so in certain way he found in his own father some of the features we can see now in this character. His parents had a tv show kinda "I love Lucy" and another ones on local radios with certain success and I really don't know what happened with his father later but he slowly disappeared from the entertainment scene in Buenos Aires... so I guess this movie has a deep meaning for Ricardo. In the latest press conference, you could see him losing the actor's mask and exposing himself in a more visceral way when he talked about certain things of his role... he started crying in San Sebastian and Buenos Aires talking about the dog of the film (Truman) as he passed away but maybe as his character, he might be displacing some feelings there.. who knows. It was weird because he usually is an euphoric, extrovert & funny guy... The film is co-star with another great Spanish actor Javier Cámara (from Pedro Almodóvar's "Talk to Her") and Argentine Dolores Fonzi (the young girl in "The Aura"). This is the TIFF trailer: . I highly recommend you, it's a simple story but pretty well told and quite beautiful! ;)