A better understanding of Argentina

Roxana

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May you suggest a good book or movie to help an expat friend of mine to better understand, or know something interesting about the history, politics or idiosincracy of this wonderful country? It might be written in English or Spanish.
 

grubbe

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My favorite is Bad Times In Buenos Aires by Miranda France. Although it was published in 1999 it still has a lot of valid insights. I have to warn you though; it doesn't necessarily offer the most positive picture of this country, but is still worth the read. Don't know if you can buy it here, else it's available on amazon.
 

PhilipDT

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Roxana said:
May you suggest a good book or movie to help an expat friend of mine to better understand, or know something interesting about the history, politics or idiosincracy of this wonderful country? It might be written in English or Spanish.
Its not too heavy on history, but I think you can get a great understanding of argentina by watching this.

 

MizzMarr

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There is a good movie called "The Official Story"/"La Historia Oficial" that tells the tale of a woman tracking down the origins of her adopted daughter and finding out that she was one of the babies "disappeared" from the liberals and "rehoused" during the Dirty War. Fascinating story. Really good!
 

marksoc

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Watch "Nine Queens" (Nueve Reinas). It is good for understanding the savvy way on which Argentinians operate in strange circumstances. And it is a fun movie too.
 

Lucas

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Roxana said:
A better understanding of Argentina
HaHaHa.....are you kidding, right? No one understands Argentina not even the argentines themselves do. Argentina is an enigma, an unknown paradigm since their inception over 200 years ago to the world and it will remain as such as it's the country's trademark.

As they say... 'ARGENTINA, No se explica ni se entiende solo se vive y se siente'.

ARGENTINA, you can not explain or understand, one can only live and feel.

No book written or to be written will be enough to explain or understand Argentina you only will get more confused and puzzled as everyone else are.

If you want to see a light comedy of the idiosyncrasy of this wonderful country as the mood of the times forces the people to adopt changes in order to survive I may recommend a movie 'Plata Dulce' not a new one but relevant to the culture as ever.
 

senorsuitcase

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Agree that Nueve Reinas and Bad Times In Buenos Aires are worth getting hold of. Both have a slightly negative view though of the city.
 

Lucas

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As for 'Bad Times In Buenos Aires' by Miranda Frances, don't bother.... a British journalist for the BBC that lived for barely one year in the city in 1993.

See what they have to say in the Kirkus Reviews

Here is a portrait of a city as a complete basket case: Buenos Aires through the eyes of English journalist Miranda France. Having moved to the Latin American capital city in 1993 to work as a freelance reporter, France found the Paris of the South a picture of catastrophe: pollution that asphyxiates, a relentless din, a plague of rats, drivers who "believe a car accident is an act of God, and cannot be avoided." The telephones don't work, or the bureaucrats; holes pock the streets; the heat and damp addle and inebriate, making life a misery. Go ahead and choose from the 300 brands of condoms; still, only 8 are safe. Try to get keys replicated or get anything done without a bribe or a connection. Outside the metropolis, the worst-run provinces are little more than fiefdoms. Certainly worst of all, worse than the empty promises of Peronism, the endemic corruption ("honesty had rarely been the best policy in Argentina"), the murderous and sentimental attachment to the Malvinas were the horrors of the "dirty war" of the 1970s, when gunmen in dark glasses operated with impunity to rid the country of not just Montoneros and political subversives, but "goody-goody" doctors who tended to the poor, writers of idealistic poetry, and, remarked a particularly zealous officer, "finally we shall kill the timid." The years of bottomless terror, France avers, with plenty of ammunition, have resulted in a culture of silence, bitter and anxious, that throws a pervasive unease over the everyday life of Argentineans. Roll this all together and it ferments into a picture of a country off the rails and barely contained in its understandable fury. There are bright spots in this bleak portrait, other than France's cannily affecting writing: cafés and bookshops and friends she loved, there is Borges and the tango, and the knowledge that she can leave.

Also Henry's review of the book...

I havent really got words to say how much i didnt like this book. It appears that the writer was seriously unhappy at the time of writing but this is never made overt it just seeps through the writing and poisons the book. As someone who has lived in Buenos Aires for more than a year her portrayal is boldly inaccurate and shallow. I generally want a travel writer who is witty engaging insightful bold and open minded. France is none of these things and worse she is pinched, complaining, reactionary and ungenerous not to mention transcendentally unfunny.

And from another reader....

I must say that I found this book terribly flawed by being dominated by what seems to have been the author's mood at the time. Perhaps Times were that Bad then, in the nineties, when she was here. Certainly, Buenos Aires, where I now reside, has many problems. But it is a vibrant, interesting, full of culture and history, place and the caricature Miranda France depicted is just that: a caricature. The story about deaths in elevators, to pick out just one example, is untrue and absurd. Yes, there are many Argentines who obsess about how they look, certainly. But hey, have you seen how the average 60-70 year old looks in DC lately? It seems like everyone tries to stretch and dye, until they all look like old stretched and dyed people (but not young!). Anyway, it is quite fun to read, in parts, if you ignore her strong negative broad brush on just about anything, and it has some interesting observations, particularly about Evita.
 

Amargo

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"Breve historia de los Argentinos", by Felix Luna. It is an excellent book, which will help anyone understand the present of the country.
Felix Luna is considered by most Argentines the best ever historian.
 
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