Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Argentina REcalls Bitter Memories By "The Iron Lady"
Argentines are flocking to see “The Iron Lady”, intrigued not just by the tale of the nation’s arch-nemesis Margaret Thatcher but also her uncanny incarnation as played by Meryl Streep.
It was Thatcher, the then British prime minister, who ordered troops into war after the Argentine junta invaded the Falklands Islands in 1982, sparking a brief but bloody war over the remote South Atlantic archipelago. Casualties were high, especially on the Argentine side. The 74-day war cost the lives of 649 Argentine troops and 255 British soldiers.
The controversial sinking of Argentine battleship The General Belgrano was a particularly deadly part of the conflict, unashamedly hailed in Britain amid a wave of nationalistic fervor, which still rankles Argentines today.
Hollywood star Streep has won plaudits and an Oscar nomination for her role in the film, in which Thatcher is seen looking back over her career.
But 30 years ago, many here saw Thatcher as the embodiment of evil. “Of course, she is a real monster, an extremely hard woman,” said a 70-year-old moviegoer who identified herself only as Nilda. But “actually, I came for Meryl Streep, who is an incredible actress,” she said. “Her performance is truly moving.”
She praised Thatcher’s rise through the ranks however, saying that, “as a woman, I am proud to see that a grocer’s daughter was able to rise in that way. It’s amazing.”
The film shows how Thatcher overcame traditional barriers against women to be elected prime minister in 1979, holding office until she resigned in 1990.
Among moviegoers on Buenos Aires’ Corrientes Avenue was 61-year-old lawyer Carlos Araujo, who said he liked the “amazing performance of Meryl Streep.”
It was “a true feat,” he said, but added that he preferred the film to the real-life political conflict. ‘We hate her, but this film helps to better understand her’
Some movie fans in Buenos Aires however were focused more on the politics.
One scene depicts Thatcher’s decision to sink the Belgrano, with the cost of 323 lives.
There remains considerable controversy over its sinking, it was torpedoed by nuclear-powered submarine HMS Conqueror even though it was outside a British total exclusion zone set up around the islands.