Secrets can't be hidden under the sun: Comments on the anti-ideology of "Official Statements"

Brett 2022-07-06 12:54:37

There is such a sentence in the American drama "Lie to me", "Truth and happiness cannot have both." When the truth of history confronts the state apparatus, what should individuals do? To choose the illusion that looks beautiful in the shadows or choose the bloody reality that may have existed in the sun? Luis Puenzo gave his answer through "Official Statements".
If the coercive state machinery such as the law, the army, and the prison is an explicit form of power to suppress riots and deter people. The method adopted by the ideological state apparatus is obviously much softer. It subtly instills the mainstream values, government will and other ideologies that conform to the interests of the ruling class to the people through a seemingly logical method and argument. Some people say that if you want to destroy a country, you must first destroy the history of this country. But is history just destroyed by foreign forces? The "Official Statement" puts forward a proposition for us in this regard: Is the historical interpretation of the national government the unmistakable historical truth? I am afraid this is not the case. On the contrary, the "official statement" given by the government sometimes blinds the truth of history and the eyes of the people.
At the beginning of the film is a close-up of the school speakers. The speakers are like a tool for government education. Although teachers and students sang "freedom, freedom, freedom" to the national anthem on the radio, freedom is to a greater extent simply the desire of the people. Not the status quo of the people. The protagonist Alicia, as a high school history teacher at this time, is nothing more than a voice for the government. The film completes the expression of the theme by means of the shaping of this character and the transformation of his psychological process. Middle-class Alicia lives a prosperous life, has a happy family, and everything looks impeccably happy. So, when the students showed her the real historical facts, whether it was from her class, the rigid thinking pattern she often received after being indoctrinated by the government, or the harmonious family, she couldn't understand and was unwilling to believe it. The darkness of politics and the ugliness of history, she also understands that if these sensational facts are true, the results will not be good, and even affect her family. So, she kicked the student out of the classroom and applied to discipline the student. When the reunited friend poured out a series of horrific murders she suffered because of her boyfriend's political problems after drinking, she expressed deep sympathy out of morality and friendship, shock and confusion. But when it comes to the fact that the children of the women who were imprisoned at the time were secretly sent out by caesarean section, Alicia turned from pity to displeasure. Her adopted daughter Gabby was her weakness because Gaby was forced to be involved, not Watch the fire as a bystander. The crowds marching on the street, the evidence presented by the male teachers and students, all pointed in a direction that was contrary to the world she knew. Human nature and the conscience of intellectuals determine that she cannot continue to live in lies, and the process of her pursuit of her adopted daughter's life experience is not only the process of understanding the truth of history, realizing the true face of her husband and the government, but also the process of her heart from "happiness". A brutal process of enlightenment. As an unintentional and innocent participant in the whole tragedy, she finally declared her self-awakening by running away like Nora, and no longer lived in the so-called harmonious spiritual home built for her by her husband and the government with lies and fantasies. "Freedom and freedom" in the true sense, and although she is a middle class, it is not easy for Alicia as a woman to take this step, and it is undoubtedly commendable.
As a politically distinct literary film, "Official Statement" is quite different from traditional genre films by using viewpoint stitching and other techniques for ideological indoctrination, showing an obvious anti-ideological tendency. The purpose of genre films is to promote mainstream values ​​and at the same time make the public follow the established social order of the power system. It plays a role in appeasing public opinion and creating dreams for the people. This film pushes Alicia, including the audience, into history. And the political front, forcing us to think about what is real? And what should we believe? One is the power and the mainstream, and the other is the grief of the disadvantaged. We, like the protagonists, are full of contradictions in our hearts. The director questioned the so-called historical truth through the appearances of Alicia's friends, her students, the victim's family, and even Robert's father and brother. Their experiences and stories impacted Alicia's psychological defense line again and again. From the initial happy family to the final violence and runaway, the film broke not only a dream, but also the belief in the "legitimate history" written by the government. It does not dissolve contradictions, but gradually peels away the truth and deepens contradictions. Alicia's husband Robert was undoubtedly a good man in the traditional sense of the genre at first, middle-class, successful, and loving his wife and daughter. However, with Alicia's continuous investigation, the hypocrisy, strength and cruelty of those in power and the middle class represented by him are fully revealed. The violence at the end wiped out the last illusions of Alicia and the audience. The reality is far less complete than the genre movies. Reconciliation is more about the naked truth in the sun.
In order to match the heavy theme and ideology, the film adopts a low-key tone, and uses warmer tones when expressing Gabby's innocence and cuteness. Alicia is also an image of a dignified middle-class intellectual woman, and her hairstyle and clothes did not change until later when she changed her mind. In the end, Gabby's singing alludes to the main theme of the film, and at the same time, it is also the voice of Alicia and the vulnerable groups and even the entire people. The individual appears so insignificant and helpless in the face of power and history. As a lost person in history, even if he penetrates The truth of history has no right to speak, and it is impossible to change the reality.
Our lives are layered on top of each other, and the next layer is next to the next, so that we are constantly touching the old traces of the past in fresh encounters, and the past is neither perfect nor successful, but alive in the immediate reality. Benhard Schlink wrote in The Reader. In fact, the past history does not mean that it does not exist. The old times are always inextricably linked with us. To forget the history means betrayal, and being blinded by pretentiousness is also a betrayal of history. The "Official Statement" shows us how many "official statements" existed in the history of Argentine society in the 1970s, and how many "official statements" existed in the history of the rebels and dissidents. It's just that no amount of clever pretense can cover up the evil under the sun. Human beings should give history a real face, and this is exactly what the "Official Statement" is about.

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Extended Reading

The Official Story quotes

  • Alicia: Time for bed, Gaby.

    Gaby: Just a little longer. One more story.

    Ana: The one about the invisible paint? This paint makes things invisible. For instance, we paint your bed and it vanishes. Then mommy will think you're sleeping in mid-air.

    Gaby: Mommy, is she like Dolores? Is she your "divided" friend?

  • Ana: [to Roberto] Gaby is wonderful. She says I'm the "divided" friend.

    Alicia: [laughing] She can't pronounce devoted. She loves the word and uses it constantly.

    Roberto: Will you be staying?

    Ana: I don't know yet.

    Roberto: You're looking good. I never saw you in a skirt before. Europe was good for you, wasn't it? It seems to have polished up your edges.