MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay’s candidate to win the Oscar for best foreign film, “Otra historia del mundo,” is an “allegory against authoritarianism” inspired by the dictatorship this small South American country endured in 1973-1985, director Guillermo Casanova said in an interview with EFE.
Uruguay’s Film and Audiovisual Institute has also entered “Otra historia del mundo” (Another Story of the World) in the competition for the Goyas, Spain’s equivalent of the Oscars, in the category of best foreign Spanish-language film.
“Film is not just entertainment, it is also part of an art,” Casanova said, explaining his decision to take on, even if indirectly, the issue of the military regime.
“Any reference to the dictatorship ... is going to wound people’s sensibilities,” the filmmaker said, adding that his intention was to convey the idea that “any type of authoritarianism, be it under a dictatorship or a democracy, is a terrible stupidity.”
The film, Casanova told EFE, seeks to embody the attitude of the young “heroes” who fought against the 1973-1985 junta.
The story unfolds in the fictitious town of Mosquitos, where two friends, Gregorio Esnal and Milo Striga, plot an uprising against the local authorities.
Things go awry when Milo disappears and in the course of searching for his friend, Esnal decides to challenge the dictatorship through the content of the course in ancient history he teaches at the Mosquitos community center.
Casanova said that despite the allegorical quality of the tale, it was necessary to craft a narrative that makes plain the Uruguayan context of the story in order to make viewers identify with the characters.
Indeed, the filmmaker has made it a practice to seek inspiration in works by Uruguayan authors.
His 2003 film, “El viaje hacia el mar,” dramatizes a short story by Juan Jose Morosoli, while “Otra historia del mundo” is based on Mario Delgado Aparain’s novel “Alivio de Luto.”
He shot his latest movie in the southern Uruguayan town of San Antonio and hired area residents as extras.
Asked about the possibility his film may win an Oscar or Goya, Casanova said that for it to end up among the five finalists in either competition “would be very incredible.”