Marvel Exec Victoria Alonso also produced the Oscar-nominated 1985 film Argentina
The Marvel executive took a break from superheroes to revisit his country’s horrific past.
As a teenager in Buenos Aires, Victoria Alonso never imagined she would become an executive producer at Marvel. And now that he’s spent 17 years at the studio, he’s seen “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” nominated for five Academy Awards — but he never imagined he’d also be making an Oscar-nominated international film that same year, “Argentina.” with title. 1985.”
As Marvel’s president of physical production, Alonso spends his days working on a variety of projects at every stage—from location scouting, casting, and visual development to costumes, visual effects, editing, scores, and casting. “Every day is chaos and privilege,” Alonso said. “Every day it’s, ‘What just happened?’ And, “Oh my god, that’s awesome.”
Alonso had always wanted to make his own version of Luis Puenzo’s “The Official Story,” which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1986. “I’ve done a lot of stories about superheroes,” he said. “And I’ve always wanted to tell a story about what happened in Argentina, because I should have been one of 30,000 people.”
The “30,000 people” are the Argentines who “disappeared” under the military dictatorship of the regime of General Jorge Videla. As a teenager, he actively protested against the policies of the military junta, which kidnapped, tortured and killed Videla’s opponents.
“For some reason they didn’t come after me,” he said. “But I was very vocal, very active. Looking back, I don’t think I knew exactly what it meant to march or speak out against the system. I kept the running shoes in a bag, and when the bomb threats came, my sister and I ran home.
Courtesy of Marvel Studios.
“Eventually what happens is your body finds a way,” he said. “If you don’t normalize that moment, you wouldn’t be able to survive the day. We still had to go to school. People still had to work. People had to continue to give birth, continue to live, the world did not stop. So part of the humor that the film can show: How sick was he? We figured out a way to add some humor to such a deadly, consistent, painful, terrifying moment in our history.”
Producer Axel Kuschevatzky convinced Alonso to ask Disney and Marvel for permission to help him make “Argentina 1985,” directed by Santiago Miter (“Paulina”). It depicts the trial against the dictators, following the veteran lawyer Julio César Strassera (Ricardo Darín), who led the trial against the junta – and won.
“‘Argentina 1985’ has a single voice that said ‘yes,'” he said. “One lawyer brought another and brought the young generation that didn’t even know what they had to lose to win. What they have achieved is far beyond what they could have imagined because suddenly we have received justice. If there’s one message to get across to anyone, young and not so young, it’s that your voice matters.”
During the pandemic, Kuschevatzky and Alonso practically produced together with the Argentine team. The trial was held in the same courtroom where it took place, and real survivors were placed in the room, filming the faces of the victims and the accused. “We will see the pain of those who were injured,” Alonso said. “And the pain of those who have been accused of the harm they have inflicted on others.”
When Alonso first saw the rough cut, “I couldn’t speak for two days,” he said. “”I can’t comment on you.” Because you have to take that shower from yesterday and find the strength to come back to it creatively. There’s a lot that comes back emotionally. So the challenge is still how to make a film that speaks to the world , not only to our country, because democracy is in danger everywhere.”
Editorially, the trick was not to take sides. “The film has no political party except the party of human rights,” he said. “(We asked), is it related to the systematic violation of human rights? So we were very focused on that. That’s why the film has been so well received in the world, because it doesn’t take any side except the side of life.”
When the film was played in Argentina, it was “an incredible, incredible healing moment for our country,” Alonso said. “When it comes to politics and how we’ve hurt each other, it’s very difficult sometimes to show others the struggle of a nation where the rest of the world feels that these people don’t matter. The truth is that some countries do not influence others by having history. It doesn’t matter if we went through our own genocide or not. The real triumph of the film is that people see it and realize that it’s not just Argentina. It happened everywhere.”
Young people and adults alike flocked to Argentine cinemas. “We did it for the young people, they are the stopping point,” Alonso said. “They are the ones who can say no, nunca mas. This will never happen again. ‘No why? Because we will rise. … you can’t kill me. You can’t torture. You can’t rape me. You can’t take my child. You must not tear it apart and put it under a highway. You can’t kill him or throw him out of a plane into a river. This is not what we do to each other as a society.”
The film has been distributed worldwide and is being played for even more people worldwide on the Amazon platform.
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