El Elefante Blanco is the latest, very powerful (Argentine/French/Spanish) movie by Pablo Trapero, with Ricardo Darin, Jeremie Renier and Martina Glusman.
It is the story of father Julian and (the Belgian) father Nicolas, who (among others) are trying to help the people that live in the villas (slums).
From minute one the atmosphere is set, just by the way of filming. It is a dark movie, it seems to be always raining, the mud, the blood, the candle light, the running through the alleys, the shooting : it is about people struggling to get a better life, struggling to get their kids out of a bad influence, fighting to get their kids away from the drug dealers.. It is the story of social workers and priests who give their life day after day, who think about giving up because they cant cope with it anymore, who are constantly struggling to get the money needed to improve the neighborhood.
It shows the different sides of the villas, the ‘good’ people who just want to live in peace and want to stay out of trouble, but also the ‘bad’ people, who rule the areas through violence, drug producing and dealing, thus having the young in their power.
The movie is dedicated to father Carlos Mugica, who has also dedicated his life to the villas (Villa 31) and who was murdered in 1974. Some say by the army, but the case was never solved, thus it remains a mystery.
It is a must-see movie, although it is definitely not for the faint hearted. It is one of the best movies I have seen in ages, it sticks to you. That is what I like in a movie… For now it is still in the theatre, so hurry up!