by contributing writer, Tracey Chandler
“El Rati Horror Show,” showing in Buenos Aires cinemas at present, is an Argentine directed documentary of a special kind which forced the director, Enrique Piñeyro, and his family to leave Argentina after receiving death threats regarding the content of the documentary.
There are two reasons to go and see this movie.
The first reason lies in the fact that the contents of the movie should be supported. The legal corruption that took place during the trial of Fernando Ariel Carrera, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the road deaths of three pedestrians after being pursued by police looking for a similar car to that of Carrera’s, is exposed in the documentary. “El Rati Horrror Show” aims to highlight that the pieces of the puzzle in Carrera’s trial, which took place in Argentina in 2007, do not fit together. The movie claims that Carrera is innocent, the victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and his conviction was used to cover up police incompetence.
The second reason to see “El Rati Horror Show” is because the way in which the documentary presents the fact and communicates the puzzling facts about the incident and the trial itself is very creative. Piñeyro, who is present throughout the documentary, narrating his own thought process concerning the trial from start to finish, communicates these thoughts and thus shares them with the audience by talking with colleagues and a collection of puppets which represent the judges responsible for the sentence that was passed.
The documentary also makes good use of some highly technical equipment to replay events and reconstruct key moments from the past in order to highlight probability, possibility and everything that would have been impossible too. Models, videos, sound experiments and more fill “El Rati Horror Show” with some wonderfully illustrated moments that help to suggest the disparities between what truly occurred and what was said to have occurred during the trial.
Indeed, the content of “El Rati Horror Show” is presented in such a cleverly convincing way that it is no wonder Piñeyro and his family were on the receiving end of a number of death threats during the making of the documentary. The family left Argentina for their own safety and spent the entire production and post-production stages of the documentary out of the country. Considering that Piñeyro is already well known for his penchant in shooting documentaries which reveal scapegoats and bring into question the actions of authoritative administrations, it is probable that the family were already prepared for and expecting such a reaction.
Italian born documentary director and screenplay writer, Enrique Piñeyro, was not always a man of the cinema. Before launching himself into a career in the moving visual arts, Piñeyro was actually a pilot. In fact, it was his job as a pilot that paved the way forward for a career in documentary film-making in the first place.
In 2006, Piñeyro directed and wrote the screenplay for a documentary entitled, “Fuera Aérea Sociedad Anónima” which aimed to expose the negligence behind Argentine air travel and clear the name of a pilot accused of malpractice that resulted in a very tragic plane crash some seven years previous.
Since 2006, Piñeyro´s career as documentary film director, producer and screenplay writer has continued to grow and he has steadily earned himself a reputation for uncovering the questionable practice of institutional powers when they find an unprotected scapegoat to cover up the mistakes that they themselves should never have allowed to happen, “El Rati Horror Show” acting as the most recent example of his works, but also include his first fiction film from 2003, Whisky Romeo Zulu that starred Piñeyro himself as a pilot fighting against corruption.
Equally, in “El Rati Horror Show,” the technology and narrative styles used really help to make Piñeyro’s version of events highly believable and brings into question the honesty and competency of the Argentine judicial system; perhaps more so than if the style of the documentary was that much more conservative and familiar.
Catch “El Rati Horror Show” while it is still in the cinemas here in Buenos Aires. This is a documentary that really should be seen on the big screen.