A man journeys to find his true love from 13 years ago. So entrenched is she in her memories of him that she fails to recognise him in the present, and he must woo her all over again. But the film ends in tragedy as the man is viewed with suspicion by the rest of the village.
From its arresting opening sequence, photographed with a stunning overhead camera, of a middle-aged man running naked through the wide avendidas of Buenos Aires, to its startlingly ironic conclusion, Secret Wedding is a thoroughly original, absorbing and entertaining film.
Agresti, only 29, is emerging as one of Argentina's foremost filmmakers and this one, quite rightly, was acclaimed at Toronto and Berlin. The central story deals with our naked man (Haas), suffering from amnesia. The police arrest him and learn that he is Fermin Garcia, a former revolutionary and one of the 'disappeared' whom they believed killed. In the new climate of post-junta 'democracy' they release him.
Fermin journeys to his little village in search of Tota (Bushnelli), the woman he still loves. Thirteen years have passed and Tota is still waiting for him, but so obsessed with memories and dreams that she fails to recognise him. Calling himself Alberto, he must woo her all over again.
Although befriended by an ex-torture victim (Campos) and a restaurant owner (Bloise), Fermin/Alberto is viewed with growing suspicion and hostility by the autocratic priest (Pinson) and the other villagers, with tragic results.
The movie, marvellously acted, is a strong political allegory, exposing bigotry, hypocrisy and corruption, but the message is encased in a powerful and poignant love story. For all the film's depressing observations, it is romantic and often funny, and deserves a wider following.
Breathtakingly photographed, romantic, and funny, this film is a love story carrying a powerful political message and deserves to be seen by far more people than it's original release allowed.