Europe '51
Santiago Mitre: 5 Films Whose Complexities Inspire Me
Santiago Mitre
Santiago Mitre
Director/Writer

For Argentine writer-director Santiago Mitre, finding the humanity behind the political machine is key to making a movie about serious subjects both effective and engaging, something he has strived for with his films Paulina and The Summit.

His latest, Argentina, 1985, is a courtroom drama about the trial of the country's bloodiest military dictatorship. Mitre centers the film on prosecutors Luis Moreno Ocampo and Julio Cesar Strassera, played by Peter Lanzani and Ricardo Darín, respectively. (The latter, an icon of Argentine acting, also starred in Mitre's 2017 film, The Summit.)

"Not too many people in my country remember the trial," Mitre says. "It was surprising to see how little people remembered it, because it's such an important event for the building of the democracy in Argentina. And I'm happy that we are putting some light again on it — that's what cinema can do."

"And in this case," he continues, "in the period we are living, where societies are so divided and [discourse] that doesn't seem to care too much about democracy is growing all over the world, to tell this story about how hard it was to build a new democracy in Argentina, I think it's a topic that it's especially relevant nowadays."

Below, Mitre shares five films that influenced his interest in politics, performance, and memory as a filmmaker.

MORE: 'Argentina, 1985' Director Santiago Mitre on Cinema's Potential in the Fight for Democracy (Exclusive)

1
Europe '51
1952
Europe '51

Where to Watch: The Criterion Channel

Directed by: Roberto Rossellini | Written by: Roberto Rossellini, Sandro De Feo, Mario Pannunzio, Ivo Perilli, and Brunello Rondi

It's a film that I loved so much. I think it's dealing with politics and the sensitivity of politics in such a deep and strong way. It was very inspirational for me in one of my films that's called Paulina. And I'm a huge fan of Ingrid Bergman, and Roberto Rossellini also. So, I love all the things they did together, like Stromboli or Viaggio in Italia.

2
Notorious
1946
http://aple.tmsimg.com/assets/p821_i_h11_ac.jpg
Icon_Audio-Video_-PlayCreated with Sketch.
Where to watch

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock | Written by: Ben Hecht

It's a film that I would include in any list whenever I'm speaking about the films that I love. So complex and so melodramatic in the best way possible. The couple that Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant make, it's amazing. I'm big fan of Ingrid Bergman in every aspect.

3
Accattone
1961
Accattone

Where to Watch: The Criterion Channel

Directed by: Pier Paolo Pasolini | Written by: Pier Paolo Pasolini and Sergio Citti

This is the first film that Pasolini directed, and it is a film that I was in love with since the first time I saw it — it's so complex with such a controversial main character, but still likable. It's such a powerful and ageless film, and shot in an amazingly beautiful form beside the darkness of the topic, or the experience of the director at that moment. Now, he's a genius that we all consider a genius, but that first film for me is something unique.

4
Nine Queens (Nueve reinas)
2001
Nine Queens

Written and Directed by: Fabián Bielinsky

It was also the first film for Bielinsky, and I think, one of the masterful performances of Ricardo Darín, who is an actor that I, of course, love. I had admired him for a long time, and when I saw what he did with this character in this film, I understood the greatness that he has as an actor.

5
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
1962
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Icon_Audio-Video_-PlayCreated with Sketch.
Where to watch

Directed by: John Ford | Written by: James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck

I'm not going to be very original here, but it's such a masterpiece, so complex in the way it explains the birth of a nation through the construction of myth. James Stewart is in it and John Wayne, which they both are always great to see on film.

Related Lists
© 2022 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences