Garage Olimpo | Chicago Reader

Garage Olimpo

Italian-Argentinean director Marco Bechis reopens an ignoble chapter in Argentina's recent history with this fictional 1999 story of a young woman kidnapped and tortured during the military dictatorship of the late 70s. Maria (Antonella Costa), a university student who teaches in a ghetto school, lives in the boardinghouse run by her mother (Dominique Sanda of The Conformist). The young woman's only crime seems to be compassion for the poor, yet a band of armed men claiming to be from the military take her to a secret prison (the garage of the title), where she's repeatedly stripped and interrogated. Her only hopes of escape are her mother, who learns that other citizens have disappeared as well, and one of her captors, who's fallen in love with his victim. Bechis probes the psychological scars of the era, noting the cruelty and caprice of the clandestine goons who served the dictatorship, and cinematographer Ramiro Civita creates a harrowing vision divided between dark, claustrophobic prison cells and overhead shots of Buenos Aires, an urban grid under constant surveillance.

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