Hilario and Catalina are among the most defenceless victims of the Argentinian military junta: they were stolen from their families as babies and placed with foster families. Their parents disappeared for good. Now that their family history has become clear, it raises complex questions about perpetrators, victims, guilt and retribution.
During the military junta's dictatorship in Argentina in the 1970s, newborns were taken from the regime's opponents. These subversive elements were eliminated and their children placed with foster families, many of which were military personnel in service of the junta. The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo protested for decades, seeking more clarity about the fate of their missing children and grandchildren. They achieved success and court cases were conducted to reunite grandchildren of disappeared parents with their biological families.
Hilario and Catalina are two of the many 'stolen children of Argentina'. They only learned the truth about their ancestry a few years ago and are now wrapped up in court cases against their adoptive parents. However, this discovery is not considered a blessing to everyone. While Catalina experiences the truth about her ancestry as a salvation and is eager to drag her foster parents into court, Hilario actually sees it as a horrible revelation. He loves his foster parents and is very reluctant to embrace his biological family. He also wants to prevent the family he regards as his own from ending up in prison. When a victim does not feel like a victim, does the perpetrator need to face trial?
Directors Jenny Hellmann and Regina Mennig followed Hilario and Catalina over a period of two years, during the difficult court cases against their foster parents, providing the audience with an entirely fresh look at Argentinian history and the complexity of processing a national trauma.
Venue: City Hall
Event: Post-film talkback with directors Jenny Hellmann and Regina Mennig hosted by Andrew Thompson of the Balsillie School of International Affairs.