Actor Banderas Says Argentines Want History Told
22 Aug 2002.        source: Reuters

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish heart-throb Antonio Banderas and British film industry darling Emma Thompson are to be the new torch-bearers for thousands of Argentines who were "disappeared" by the military dictatorship of the 1970s.
Their upcoming movie "Imagining Argentina" tells the story of those who were abducted and secretly disposed of by the dictatorship from 1976-1983.

In the film, written and directed by Christopher Hampton, Thompson plays a journalist who is kidnapped for speaking out against the regime.

For Banderas, as known in Hollywood as in his native Spain for films including "The Mask of Zorro" and "Matador," the harrowing tale of the "desaparecidos" was one that had to be told."What we found in Argentina were people urging us to tell the story. They needed...the story to come out, not just in their own country but throughout the world," Banderas told reporters.

Thompson, speaking in Spanish, which she said she learnt five years ago on an intensive three-day course, echoed her co-star."This isn't just a story about Argentina, but Chile and so on," she said."I have realized that this story isn't about the past...the wound is still open."

Human rights groups say around 30,000 people disappeared under the regime.
Banderas said that as a child who grew up when Spain was on the road to democracy from General Francisco Franco's dictatorship, political stories had a special appeal.

"I'm a child of the transition, while Spain was moving to democracy, when Franco died, I was 15... There's a certain tension, an attraction for a certain type of political stories."

Thompson, best known for quintessentially British films "Howards End" and "Remains of the Day," plans to make a film about musician Victor Jarra, a man who disappeared from Chile and whose exiled child shared a London classroom with the actress.But for the time being she'll lay down the human rights torch to star in a comedy directed by writer of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" Richard Curtis.

Next year she will film her script of a children's story she has written.

Banderas returns in 2004 to work with the man who launched his career, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, although he also wants to direct his wife, actress Melanie Griffith, in another film. He directed her in "Crazy in Alabama" in 1999.

Still, Emma Thompson got high praise from her co-star.
"Emma is probably the best actress I have ever worked with...
It has been a blessing from heaven."
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