South America Blog
About this blog
Wayne Bernhardson is the author of Moon Handbooks to Buenos Aires, Chile, Argentina, and Patagonia. Here he shares his vast knowledge of South America and its people.
- The Papal Cumbia
- The Uruguayan Sacraments: Tango & Mate
- Taxing the Tourist: Argentina's AFIP Aims Low
- Fortress Falklands: A Book Review
- Pope Argentinus I, The Musical: Ragtime Meets Tango
- Credit Where Credit Is Undue?
- ¿Adios Hugo?
- When "No" Is A Positive
- Chile and Its "Crazies"
- The Oscars: A Post Mortem, So to Speak
- Sacrificing the Atacama? A Chilean View of Dakar
- Chilean Oscar Faceoff? "No" v. "Kon-Tiki"
- Friday Digest: Southern Cone Nuggets
- Dancing in the Mud? The Andean Aftermath
- Floods & Mud: Summer Storms Hit the Andes
Sex & Food in Buenos Aires: Part 2
A few years ago, in Buenos Aires, Ámbito Financiero cinema critic and independent director Diego Curubeto invited me to a shoot for his first film, a hybrid docudrama on actress Isabel Sarli. Finally, this month, “Carne sobre Carne” (Flesh on Meat, Spanish-language trailer at the link) has gone into limited release and has drawn rave reviews in newspapers ranging from the left-of-center Página 12 to the middle-of-the-road Clarín and the conservative La Nación, as well as the English-language Buenos Aires Herald (link available only after 2 p.m. Buenos Aires time, daily).
Curubeto uses the story of Sarli (born 1935), whose films seem tame today but were considered scandalous in her 1958-1979 heyday, as a case study of censorship in an Argentina that was dominated by conservative institutions like the Catholic Church that, in turn, supported some of the continent’s most vicious military dictatorships. In interviewing Sarli at her suburban Buenos Aires home for a BBC documentary, Curubeto noticed a pile of canisters that, as it happened, contained uncensored versions of her films as they were seen overseas (including the United States, where one film earned a million dollars at a single cinema in New York). This became the basis of his project.
I played my own small part in this - literally so, as Curubeto recruited me, on the spot, to act in the 3 a.m. shoot (the Ministerio de Obras Públicas, a rationalist skyscraper that houses the public works ministry, was available only at that hour). Sitting at a desk, improvising with an ancient dial telephone in my hand, I portrayed Roman Polanski’s Polish-producer-in-London-exile in an argument over distribution rights with Sarli’s director/producer/lover Armando Bó. Unfortunately, my scene didn’t make the final cut, but I’ve been assured it will appear on the DVD version, whenever that might come out.
Despite my exclusion, the theatrical version of the film does include Argentine cinema figures such as Gastón Pauls (who starred in the multiple award-winning Nine Queens). "Carne sobre Carne" is playing every Tuesday and Saturday night this month at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), the continent’s foremost modern art museum.
Meanwhile, on a peripherally related theme, Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, whose plunging popularity concerns her Peronist loyalists, stuck her foot in her mouth last month. Addressing an audience of pig farmers, and responding to public complaints over falling beef supplies and rising prices, she suggested that pork would not only be cheaper but would also offer an additional advantage: ““I've just been told something I didn't know; that eating pork improves your sex life ... I'd say it's a lot nicer to eat a bit of barbecued piglet than take Viagra.”
This, of course, led to a lot of off-color commentary in the press, the best of which came from the online magazine Planeta Joy, which published a list of the five best places to eat pork in Buenos Aires, plus suggestions for the best nearby telos to “quench your desire.” In a slightly different manner, I addressed this topic in an earlier post with a similar title - thus, the “Part 2” that appears above.