Release Date: November 10th, 2006 (Cinema Village) by Laemmle/Zeller Films.
The Cast: Bárbara Lombardo, Susana Campos, Hugo Arana, Osvaldo Santoro, Noemí Frenkel, Lidia Catalano, Mercedes Funes, Silvia Baylé, Luis Gianne, Margara Alonso, Roxana Berco, Marcela Ferradás, Antonio Ugo, Floria Bloise, César Bordón, Hana Purita, Gisèle Benoldi. Directed by Gastón Biraben.
In Spanish with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: Cristina (Lombardo), a teenager, discovers that her biological parents disappeared during Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 70’s.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Cautiva, which translates as “Captive”, has a gripping plot and some convincing performances. Until the age of 15, Cristina’s life has been relatively tranquil with her supportive and loving parents (Santoro and Baylé). Her life changes when the principal of her Catholic school calls her to his office and tells her that a judge has some news to share with her. A nun and the school psychiatrist escort her to the judge who nonchalantly informs her that her current parents aren’t her real ones. Even though her birth certificate doesn’t look forged, he has enough evidence that links her to biological parents who disappeared during Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 1970’s. For example, blood tests confirm the link with 99% accuracy and, on top of that, the doctor who signed the certificate fled the country soon after. Cristina refuses to believe any of this shocking news and tries to escape to her foster parents, but the government soon tracks her down. Her biological grandmother (Campos) takes care of her and, at that point, Cristina—or Sofia, rather—figures out the truth behind how and why her adoptive parents deceived her all of her life—she has a different name, Sofia, and she is actually a year older. Bárbara Lombardo and Susana Campos both give convincing performances as Cristina and her real grandmother. Writer/director Gastón Biraben does a great job of including e interactions between them as well as between Cristina and her adoptive parents which would have adds some well-needed character development. At least the plot has enough revealing moments to be gripping from start to finish without ever dragging during its running time of 115 minutes.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: 30,000 children disappeared during Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 1970’s and only 74 of them were found. These alarming statistics makes this story that sheds light on the importance of finding the rest of those lost children. It’s both sad and alarming how Cristina’s adoptive parents lied to Cristina until the government performed its own investigation and brought the harsh truth out. Cristina tries to absorb this new knowledge and gradually reacts to it in a more mature fashion in many moving scenes. Inevitably, her experiences will emotionally scar her for the rest of her life. INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: A powerful and important film. Gripping and absorbing from start to finish.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "C" Menu