JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Holy Spider | Blanquita | Argentina 1985 (Directors: Ali Adbasi, Fernando Guzzoni, Santiago Mitre) - January 12, 2023 id="543337086">

Holy Spider | Blanquita | Argentina 1985

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Reviewed for the 2023 edition of the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
Three countries—three vastly different tales

Holy Spider
Iran, 117 minutes
Ali Adbasi
Four stars

And justice for one

Being on a holy mission to rid the world from your perceived scum must pay huge dividends, right? Just ask Donald Trump, Ye, and Nick Fuentes.

In this study, justice Iranian style (based on events two decades ago), it falls on Allah devotee Saeed (nicely coiffed Mehdi Bajestani) to literally squeeze the life out of his fellow citizens who have no way of making a living to feed their families but by selling their withering bodies one night at a time.

Undercover reporter Rahimi (done up with grit by Zar Amir-Ebrahimi) is hot on the trail of this ruthless serial killer, semi aided and abetted by another gumshoe and a lecherous cop.

Not an unknown story in many countries, the film scores most of its points in the inevitable trial when Saeed is cheered on by his countrymen, but might face present-day Iran’s capital punishment. (‘Tis for viewers to discover.)

But the saddest, most prescient scene of all comes from Saeed’s devoted son Ali (Mesbah Taleb, eagerly waiting for his whiskers to bloom), deciding whether or not to follow in his dad’s “hand steps.”

Thank goodness the world is a more civilized place today… JWR

Fernando Guzzoni
Chile, 94 minutes
Three and one half stars

Most truth will never come out

Astonishing, but not surprising, that in the same week as more Bill Cosby accusers come forward (following his hardly awaited 2023 tour announcement) and Republican liar-in-training George Santos’ “fibs” continue to mount, that Guzzoni’s masterful chronicle of sex abuse by a sitting senator (tried to put to rights by a diligent priest—stoically done up by Alejandro Goic) is waylaid by his “boss” and the Chilean “legal” system making one and all wonder if justice will ever be done anytime soon in the 21st century,

As the victim, Laura López does a most convincing job playing Blanquita, whose courage to speak truth to power most likely will end in a mess for the “weak”.

Do take a look, then imagine immigrants sent from Texas being brought to Kamala Harris’ home on Christmas Eve. JWR

Argentina 1985
Santiago Mitre
Argentina, 140 minutes
Four and one half stars

Never again!

In our present-day era of dictatorial rule in Russia causing horrendous, senseless grief in Ukraine, it is instructive to see a re-enactment of the 1985 Trial of the Juntas in Argentina.

Mitre, along with co-writer  Mariano Llinás, vividly tells the tale of two determined lawyers (Ricardo Darín is superb as the Wagner-loving, stoic Julio César Strassera, Peter Lanzani also does fine work providing, literally, reams of evidence required to bring justice to those responsible for countless atrocities during the last dictatorship period: 1976-1983).

Hopefully, a similar fate awaits Putin and his cronies—sooner than later—then Mitre can tell that story with the elements of veracity and grit. JWR

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