Crítica de Pablo Suárez - Buenos Aires Herald

“Amidst the great crisis our country endured towards the beginning of the 21st century, we had access to plenty of television newsreels taped during the military dictatorship. All these hours of television showed an almost perfect country, with no conflicts, no strikes, no protests, and a military with a repetitive speech about the existence of a slanderous, hidden and mysterious enemy: international terrorism,” says Argentine filmmaker Alcides Chiesa about his documentary Dixit, co-directed with Carlos Martínez, which pits the official version (that of the genocides and its apologists) against the testimonies of people who were kidnapped and others who, though not abducted, were still victims and can talk about those dark, underground places of torture.

In Dixit, Chiesa, himself kidnapped and detained for 10 months in the penitentiary units of La Plata and Rawson, goes for a very straightforward, no beating around the bush approach. He intertwines compelling television material featuring notorious military officials but also their defenders and (be it in the media realm, the world of business, or in that of religion, with the Catholic Church) testimonies from people who were in nine different clandestine detention centres, including the infamous El Vesubio, the plant of the Ford factory in Pacheco, and the one in the Hospital Posadas. From the confrontation, you can see how unreal and perverse the official version was. The words and images speak for themselves. So do the faces and gestures of the victims. As for the newsreels, the truth is they are indeed appalling. Not that you haven’t seen any of this material before, it’s just that while well known, it still feels mind blowing — and extremely painful.

That is precisely the film’s chief asset. The testimonies of the victims are overwhelmingly moving (how could they not be?), and those who speak do so calmly, carefully picking each word they utter. It’s not only what they say, but how they say it. Their voices are precise, undeniable. They are not furious, they’ve gone way over that. They just want to their tell stories in order to keep the memory alive. So, by having nine people talk about nine clandestine detention centres, you get a picture of a bigger scope, one of unspeakable horror. This way, Dixit becomes a valuable historical document that goes beyond being simply a film.

At the same, in terms of film form, Dixit follows conventions by the book. And yet it somewhat fails to acquire an overall good pace and lacks some dramatic progression. Sometimes it drags and stalls, and this is when you may lose interest — it does become a bit repetitive. Less would have been more. A tighter editing job would have given it more resonance. Nonetheless, Dixit fulfils most of its goals even if doesn’t reach its full potential.