by Amy Ramirez, contributing blogger
Juan y Eva is a re-telling of the love story between Argentina’s most famous politicians, President Juan Domingo Perón and Eva “Evita” Duarte. The film takes place after the earthquake on January 1944 in San Juan which leads Colonel Juan Perón to meet radio actress Eva Duarte at a relief effort to help the victims. As they say, the rest is history.
President of Argentina Cristina Fernández de Kirchner highly recommended the movie during a speech. She asked the audience if she and her husband (ex-President Nestor Kirchner, who died tragically last year) would ever be the subject of a movie like this.
Director Paula de Luque’s (El Vestido, 2009) rendition of the courtship and eventual marriage of Juan and Eva Perón stays away from the political underpinnings of a better-known story and focuses on the couple’s romantic relationship. It stars renowned theater actor Osmar Núñez and TV/film star Julieta Díaz (who dyed her black locks blond for the part).
For from the idolized (or demonized) portraits of these political leaders that the Argentine public is used to, there is a deliberate focus placed on both the imperfection and the beauty of the human condition. We see Eva’s jealous fits of rage, and Juan being condescending to one of Eva’s friends and losing his temper with his inferiors.
In an interview with lanacion.com Osmar Núñez, who plays Juan Perón affirmed that it is a film about people instead of personalities and that’s why it’s named “Juan y Eva and not “Perón Y Evita.” For the past two years the renowned theatre actor has been dabbling in film. His performances include a theatre professor in Dos Hermanos (Two Brothers) and a cruel high school teacher in La Mirada Invisible (The Invisible Look). His co-actress, Julieta Díaz has been in many well known movies such as La Senal, Derecho de Familia, and Maradona, and currently is the romantic lead in a nightly telenovela.
Both deliver convincing, and evocative performances. The age discrepancy might be noticeable at parts, but it is not distracting. Does the sexual tension between Juan and Eva make it seem like every embrace they make is an important milestone? Or is it the weight of purpose given by history?
Not one for either marriage, or ruling countries, I left the theatre wanting to at some point participate in both.
I leave you with the words of the director:
“An important word during the filming process was ‘truth’. When [the actors] gave too much of it, I would ask for less.”
–Director Paula Luque