Almirante Zar Naval Air Base
Why work on a difficult subject , hushed up for years?
Why be involved in questions that time has turned into a malediction topic?
These were questions we wondered again and again, when the team that
produced Trelew persisted in finding out more and more about it.
Or in any case another question: why not?
And here the answer is easy: Trelew explains the present to us, Trelew tells us about a generation that made a decision to confront a national political scheme and build another one. And that generation failed, or rather, they did not let them to do it. Now the results are poverty, thousands of unemployed youths with no future at all.
Trelew explains to us.
If we read between the lines, Trelew makes clear what happened later on.
But Trelew just because, essentially, because I could not get out when I learned a bit of it, and later it was too late, I fell in love.
Yes, I fell in love with Trelew, in love with this story - not about untouchable heroes - but I fell in love with a tiny little tale , with the story telling us about the solidarity of those inhabitants in the vast Patagonia, who decided to go into a maximum security prison to take cigarettes, cheese and bread to those imprisoned youths who confronted a military dictatorship, made the revolution, laughed, played football and sang chacareras and sambas from cell to cell as well...
Trelew, because I could not understand and wanted to explain to me the strength of those who had lost everything - their children - and however they stood fast on their two legs, to fight against Brigadier-General Lanusse´s dictatorship, and shout in his face that , despite the official versions, that had been an assassination, a coward mass execution.
Trelew because I was touched by the attitude of Eduardo Capello´s mother , who had lost her two sons … and also by Tito´s look, a resident who was obstinate in being solidary with those youths and ended up imprisoned in the same penitentiary.
And also Trelew, because, when I read in an old publication the recollections of María Angélica Sabelli´s father (Angélica was one of the youths who was riddled with bullet holes and only twenty-three years old), who could not remember where he last had kissed her daughter, whether it had been on her forehead or on her cheek, then I could not stop retelling this story.
Some lines about what it was like to film in Trelew
The story of this film began in Trelew, in Rawson, at Unión Beach, in the bare and vast plateau of the Argentine Patagonia.
Although from the beginning we undertook an exhaustive research about the subject that did not leave any loose ends or problems to be discussed, it is true that, at the same time and from the very first moment, we did not neglect the actual spot where those events had taken place.
We had to get to know the places, the attitudes of the people living in a world so.
Impact, emotion, surprise are some of the feelings with which the whole team that filmed Trelew coexisted in each stage of the previous research, at the spot where the film was shot, and also during the next journeys to Patagonia, the ones that the making of the film required of us.
At the beginning we met closed doors, the inhabitants´ silence, their distrust. Little by little, on each journey, over each coffee we shared in the café at the Touring Club - an old inn in Trelew where the greater part of the political history of the region has been decided - we began to gain their affection, their trust , and the internal need of those who had been so close to the story, their desire to participate in the project. Suddenly, like an internal storm, as a sort of catharsis, those who had refused, now agreed , they claimed that they would take part in it: for themselves, for their children, for a painful story that had been hushed up for years, a story they needed to recapture for themselves.
Filming in Trelew was a shared job, a melting pot of emotions amongst the ones who were behind the camera and those who offered us the clay to model the sculpture. As we were filming in Patagonia, we gradually became residents. Little by little we stopped being “foreigners” to be part of a story, the strongest story that had ever taken place in the bare plateau.
In Trelew the tickets were sold out every day, the cinema was crowded on the week when the film was released, it showed us how the film had contributed to change things. Perhaps this is only the beginning of a road along which we need to walk to find out who we are.