Saturday, July 28, 2007

las Malvinas son Argentinas

I watched this film the other night. The American title (that's the American DVD at left) is Blessed by Fire, not quite as evocative as the original Illuminados por el Fuego. It's a moving story, told mostly in flashbacks from the bedside of a Falklands veteran who has tried to kill himself. (According to the movie, veterans' suicides have about equaled the number of combat deaths in the misbegotten war.) I was struck by how American the Argies looked: they might have been my squad mates at Fort Dix in 1956. Helmets, fatigues, and even boots seemed GI issue.

The sadism of Argentine officers and noncoms was a shock. Were they really that bad, or is this merely the view of antiwar moviemakers who know nothing about the military? Otherwise, it's convincing as a portrayal of overmatched and badly fed (and clothed) men in a combat they didn't want but believe in nevertheless. At the end, our hero goes back to Stanley (Puerto Argentinas), hires a Land Rover, and finds the dugout where he and his buddies lived and suffered. And this line is splashed across the screen: Las Malvinas son Argentinas ("The Malvinas are Argentina's"). I conclude that even an anti-war movie is pro-Malvinas.

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