The 1984 movie Camila, directed by Maria Luisa Bemberg, was a movie heavy laden with underlying tones and subjects, but also with some in your face subjects as well. Just by watching this movie someone that was not from Argentina during this time might not understand the big unspoken issues that take place which is where the readings come into play, however the movie itself is entertaining and beautifully shot from anyone’s point of view. This movie is particularly special considering the oppression and dictatorial style ruling the country of Argentina had been experiencing up until a year before the movie was released. There were two aspects of this movie that seemed special and that is the historical significance and the way it seemed to promote woman’s empowerment. The making of this movie was a step forward in movie making/directing and in Argentinean rights.
A very noticeable issue in this movie was the empowerment that Bemberg was instilling in women. This issue was raised in two areas, both in Bemberg’s actual life and in the character of Camila which could represent women in general. In 1984, while women’s rights in the United States were fully underway, the rights of women in Argentina were still that of earlier thinking. This is evident in Stephen Hart’s reading when Bemberg describes the gender differences she both felt and experienced through her life. Bemberg describes how being a divorcé in a time when that was unacceptable and unlawful affected her life and the raising of her children. Although the divorce worked out well in her case the fact that it was unlawful at the time meant that other women dealing with the same thing might not have had a good turnout such as hers. She also goes on to describe how she was basically a female pioneer of her field being both a female director and a older director than most of the young males in the profession. These were ideals that she had taken a hold of at a younger age and they came out not only in her life, but in her work as well. The character of Camila had been portrayed in many ways according to Donald Stevens, but in Bemberg’s movie she chose to portray Camila as the empowered, headstrong, and strong willed woman that she saw her as. The story of Camila had not been told through film many times, but Bemberg’s portrayal of Camila seems to have been more correct than most other depictions of her according to Steven’s readings of accounts from Camila’s actual story. The actual accounts of Camila definitely do not make her out to be weak or helpless in anyway, in fact the accounts of the jailer that she told her story to seem to make Bemberg’s film more accurate than most would be rather she was the seducer or the seduced.
The more subtle of the issues in the movie was that of the government and its tyrannical ways. Although this is an underlying theme in this movie it is an accurate depiction of the Argentinean federation that was in place during this time. The most shocking part of this movie was the scene when the book sellers head was placed on display for people to see because he was a “rebel” which were things that actually happened during this time. The government thought it necessary to have hired assassins do their dirty work to keep the people in fear and in line. It was also interesting to read about something that would have been harder to catch which was Hart’s interpretation of the “all seeing eye” that was Rosas during the movie. He mentioned how you never see Rosas during the movie except in pictures that were subtle but present that represented the style of rule that Rosas had in the country, which was he knew all and was the judge and jury basically of any issue. It was Rosas that in the end condemned both Camila and Ladislao to their fates even knowing Camila pregnant.
This movie was controversial and groundbreaking for its time. It was nicely shot and it was a great story that needed to be told for their country.