Mignogna succeeds where so many of his compatriots have failed: In telling a story that would seem to be already told, already known, a reality which he willingly acknowledges with his sardonic title. In truth, though, there is much that is new here, not least of which is the form.
Archival footage is mixed with new interviews and set into the framework of a sort of hallucinatory history, wherein reenactments offer us the figure of the young Eva Duarte boarding over and over again the train which will carry her out of her native town into history. The restrained reenactments are subtle enough to count as the home movies that were never made: Evita in her first school plays, Evita at play, Evita trying out for her first roles. Wonderfully, as history intervenes, Mignogna’s own staged records give way to the official home movies of the Peronist era: the already legendary Eva Peron, “Evita,” opening new hospitals, presiding over innumerable ceremonies, visiting Franco in Spain, speaking on women’s suffrage at home. Interviews with those who knew her and those who watched her (including a surprising one with Jack Anderson) manage to say something interesting and often intimate about the would-be actress who became, instead, “the start of her own text.”
The elegance of form , excellent score, and complex editing combine to make <i>Evita</i> an unusual model of the fiction-documentary mix, one that suggests that there remains still unexplored routes to the discovery of history, even a history as well traveled as the phenomenon of Eva Peron. Eduardo Mignogna has worked for years in film and television, but this is his first feature.
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