Close Up

24 November 2023: The Trial followed by Q&A with Ulises de la Orden


The Trial
Ulises de la Orden, 2022, 177 min  

Followed by Q&A with the filmmaker hosted by Siavash Minoukadeh

In April 1985 nine high-ranking Argentinian representatives of the military dictatorship (1976 to 1983) were put on trial, on charges including unlawful detention, torture and murder. The verdicts were announced in December. Ulises de la Orden hews closely to the video footage from the courtroom, crafting his nearly three-hour-long documentary. After viewing more than 500 hours of material, Orden condensed and structured it into this artful, spiralling montage. The more witnesses the film allows to have their say, the more irrefutable it becomes that the men in the dock are responsible for acts for which the term “state terror” is too mild, regardless of how unassailable they consider themselves to be. In the end, prosecutor Julio Strassera calls the trial a “descent” – to a place “where the misery, depravity and horror reach a depth that one couldn’t have imagined beforehand, and afterward can barely comprehend.”