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Argentine Cinema and National Identity (1966-1976)$

Carolina Rocha

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940544

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781786940544.001.0001

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Juan Moreira

Juan Moreira

Chapter:
(p.111) Chapter 8 Juan Moreira
Source:
Argentine Cinema and National Identity (1966-1976)
Author(s):

Carolina Rocha

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781786940544.003.0009

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter is devoted to survey the process of adapting and shooting Juan Moreira, one of the most popular accounts about an outlaw gaucho who ends up defeated by the forces of civilization and progress. I discuss the challenges faced by its director, Leonardo Favio, and the popular success the film received, relying on press releases and film reviews of 1973.

Keywords:   Juan Moreira, Leonardo Fabio, Rodolfo Bebán, Rebelled gaucho, Box-office success

Preproduction for Juan Moreira took a long time. The film was first announced in October 1966, when director-producer Héctor Olivera anticipated its shooting with Leonardo Favio as director and Alcón as the protagonist (‘1967 puede,’ 1967, 16). In February 1969, Favio announced that he would start shooting Moreira in color, with many actors including the Japanese Toshiro Mifune (1920–1997) (Mactas, 1969, 18). The delay resulted in a change: the main role was offered to actor Rodolfo Bebán. In an interview from May 1972, Favio mentioned that shooting was set to start on May 29, stating that ‘esta película no es más a menos épica, Juan Moreira es testimonial y, desgraciadamente, también de mucha actualidad. Moreira es el principio de una época, también de una raza y, por qué no de una mentalidad’ [this film is not more or less an epic, Juan Moreira is symbolic and, unfortunately, also very current. Moreira is the start of an epoch, of a race too and, why not, a mentality as well] (‘Favio ya tiene,’ 1972, non. pag.). The film was supposed to be released on October 11, 1972, but further delays meant that shooting finally began on June 12, 1972, in Lobos, Buenos Aires. The stages of the production were reported in the local press—particularly Gente—with numerous photos. The shoot finished at the end of October 1972. Juan Moreira was based on the adaptation of Eduardo Gutiérrez’s nineteenth-century novel by Zuhair Jury, Favio’s brother. It was produced by Alberto and Tito Hurovich, who joined forces with José Parada to create Centauro, a production company that agreed to invest 150 million pesos in Juan Moreira, whose total budget was 240 million pesos, making it the most expensive Argentine film ever (‘Su Juan,’ 1982, non. pag.). For Alberto Farina, Juan Moreira, shot in color, represents the beginning of a new phase in Favio’s oeuvre: that of the cinema-spectacle (1993, 17).

Amid high expectations, Juan Moreira’s opening was a veritable event. The film was released in the Atlas and Callao cinemas in downtown Buenos Aires, and another 50 movie theaters around the country, on May 24, 1973—the day before the inauguration of Héctor Cámpora (1909–1980), a Peronist who had won the national elections in March, which put an end to seven years of military government.1 Long queues of spectators were visible in the large (p.112) cities. By June 10, 1973, Juan Moreira had been seen by 580,377 spectators while El santo de la espada was seen by 584,692 viewers, which included 300,000 students, in a comparable period (‘Lo de Juan,’ 1973, 186). Gente ran a report which gathered several viewers’ reactions. One young couple admitted, ‘Vinimos a verla porque es argentina. Y lo demostró de pies a cabeza. Y sobre todo en este momento en que el país comenzó una nueva etapa. Muy buena película’ [We came to watch it because it is Argentine. And it showed it all the way through. And particularly in this moment in which the country began a new period. A very good film]. Two other young viewers made similar comments: Mónica de Jesús characterized it as ‘la mejor película argentina que ví en mi vida. Una película de exportación que va a dar mucho que hablar’ [the best Argentine film I have seen in my life. A film to export which will surely give people a lot to talk about]. Pedro B. also stressed the ‘national flavor’: ‘Una película netamente nacional […] por fin llegó el buen cine para nosotros, sin tener que pedir películas al extranjero’ [A distinctly national film (…) at last we have good cinema for us, without having to ask for foreign films] (‘Estamos viendo,’ 1973, 14). Juan Moreira benefitted from the domestic audience’s strong support for Argentine cinema.

The film quickly garnered positive reviews. Clarín’s film critic stated that it was ‘una visión delicada, intensa y lírica. Absorbente y a veces maestra. En todo caso de una jerarquía desacostumbrada en el cine argentino’ [a delicate, intense, and lyrical vision. Absorbing and sometimes masterful. In any case, of an unusual scale in Argentine cinema] (‘Juan Moreira,’ 1973, non. pag.). La nación’s verdict was that ‘la película se impone como una realización muy digna’ [the film stands out as a very dignified work] (‘El calvario,’ 1973, non. pag.). El heraldo gave Juan Moreira an 8/10 rating for commercial interest and a 9/10 for its artistic qualities, calling it ‘el más maduro y acabado trabajo de Leonardo Favio’ [the most mature and polished work by Leonardo Favio] (1973, 185). Juan Moreira was shown for 20 consecutive weeks in Argentina and reached an audience of 6 million people. According to Gonzalo Aguilar, ‘Ir a ver a Juan Moreira era como asistir a un western pero nacional’ [Going to watch Juan Moreira was like attending a national Western] (‘Juan Moreira,’ 1973, non. pag.). Its success at the box office was accompanied by critical acclaim: Favio’s film received the Silver Condor for Best Film from the Argentine Film Critics Association in 1974. Despite its participation in multiple film festivals around the world (Moscow, Berlin, San Sebastián, Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, Havana, Asunción, among others), it did not win any festival awards. Nonetheless, Alicia Aisemberg notes that in Juan Moreira, Favio incorporated new techniques that had previously been reserved for elite films, deployed popular traditions, and sought to appeal to massive audiences (2011, 631).

The gaucho-state opposition constitutes Juan Moreira’s central theme. In the novel, Moreira resorts to violence to avenge the injustices he has endured: Sardetti’s unpaid loan, Lieutenant Francisco’s harassment, and the betrayal of his compadre Giménez.2 For Ludmer, Moreira not only (p.113) continues with the rebelliousness of La vuelta de Martín Fierro, but also radicalizes it, giving way to an anarchist and nationalist position (1998, 3). In addition, Moreira ‘rompe con el pacto económico y ataca directamente al poder’ [breaks the financial pact and directly attacks power] (1998, 5).3 Favio’s film is also imbued with this mutiny. Ludmer holds that ‘Favio defendió y a la vez condenó al Moreira gaucho de la política liberal de fin de siglo, justo en el momento de la violencia política argentina y desde el populismo peronista’ [Favio simultaneously defended and condemned the gaucho Moreira for the liberal politics of the turn of the century, precisely at the time of Argentine political violence from Peronist populism] (1998, 13). For her part, Graciela Villanueva shrewdly notes the political motives that underpinned Favio’s Juan Moreira: after years of an authoritarian regime, the gaucho’s political drives are highlighted as the personal ones are diminished (2005, 1171). In an interview, Favio denied that his film had a political dimension, stressing that it told a story, but nevertheless alluded to the political conflicts between those who supported Mitre and those who supported Alsina (Giménez Zapiola, 1972, 59). Years later, Raúl Beceyro explained the political dimension of the film, stating that it addressed the Montoneros, rebels active at the time it was released, through a mechanism that was outside the film (1997, 115–16). Unlike the other gauchesque films, Juan Moreira presents the gaucho’s belief that politics may redeem him for his criminal past, only to be harshly betrayed.

Juan Moreira centers on a mythical gaucho known for his ferocity. Like Santos Vega, Favio’s film begins with the death—this time physical—of the eponymous hero. The first scenes show that Moreira’s memory still generates passions and uprisings, while his widow Vicenta (Elcira Olivera Garcés) recognizes his corpse. From this sequence, the film goes back in time to Moreira’s life. He is first shown patiently waiting in an office. Numerous extreme close-up shots of his face reveal his handsomeness which is also a feature of Gutiérrez’s novel and the tense wait to which he is subjected. These images convey an oppressive atmosphere: as Moreira waits in a judge’s office, he longingly looks out through a barred window, watching his fellow gauchos going about their normal activities. This introduction sets him apart as he must answer to the lieutenant-major (Eduardo Rudy) for his dealings with Sardetti, a bar owner from whom he is asking the repayment of a loan. A fixed medium shot captures his conversation as if the camera were spying on a private dealing. The authority of the judge is stressed when he talks to the gaucho: both men are standing in the waiting room and the former quickly loses his temper before the gaucho’s stern defense of his case. In a scene of shot reverse shots, the judge presents Moreira with a receipt bearing his signature, but the gaucho adamantly denies that it is his as he does not know how to write. His complaints land him in the cepo [stocks] after a cruel beating.

Like Martín Fierro, in Favio’s film, Moreira first abandons and then returns to ‘civilization.’ Disappointed with the authorities and their brand of justice, (p.114)

Juan Moreira

Close-up of Juan Moreira (Rodolfo Bebán).

he flees across the frontier.4 Though he is welcomed by the Indian chieftain, he is as shown alone during his time living in the tribe. As an observer, he reflects on the status of the Indians, whom he describes as ‘como parias en su tierra […] pucha, pregunto yo, no son mortales los indios?’ [like pariahs in their lands (…) wow, I ask, are the Indians not men?]. Rejecting passive acceptance of his fate, his voice-over announces his decision to go back and fight for his property and his family. But, just like Torre Nilsson’s Martín Fierro, in Favio’s film, Moreira finds only the empty shell of his house. David Oubiña and Aguilar correctly assert that Moreira ‘es un exiliado en un mundo en extinción’ [is an exile in a disappearing world] (1993, 105). After killing Sardetti, he is reunited with Vicenta but the meeting is bittersweet as it proves the impossibility of their family, a decision that is illustrated when Moreira cries as he holds his sleeping son. Thus, he is pushed to lead an itinerant life. In a popular rural gathering, he meets Julián Andrade (Jorge Villalba), who soon becomes his compadre [partner]. Their friendship is consolidated when a drunken Moreira kills Juan Cordoba, one of Mitre’s men, and Andrade escapes with Moreira. Further distancing him from his previous life, Moreira has to flee. A voice-over conveys his description as it appears in police documents and a transition focuses on an old woman’s narration of Moreira’s first crime. For Alberto Farina, this judicial ‘voice’ offers a counterpoint (1993, 40). It is the legal voice that characterizes the rebelling gaucho. Leaving a trail of blood, Moreira cements his mythical status (p.115) as the musical score goes into a crescendo. He is reunited with Andrada, who has also been a victim of injustice due to his association with Moreira. Like Vega’s and Sombra’s, Moreira’s reputation is spread orally by the gauchos who sing that his sorrows are dedicated to the poor.

Moreira’s participation in civilized life is far from smooth. Because of his charisma, he is co-opted by politicians who seek to benefit from his popularity among the gauchos and the lower classes. In exchange for their vote, he is promised a pardon for his criminal past. To seal his status as an insider, Dr. Marañón (Carlos Muñoz) presents him with a silver dagger. As part of a political recruiter-cum-politician’s detail, he takes part in political meetings, portrayed as superficial circus acts. Violence, however, continues to abound in Moreira’s new métier. When his assignment is changed and he is set to kill political adversaries, El Cuerudo (Edgardo Suárez), one of his compadres, breaks from the group, refusing to participate in murders. This scene, which takes place under the rain, forebodes the beginning of the end: forces beside Moreira’s talent and will are at play. When Moreira visits Marañón, he is shot by another of his men, whom he guns down in self-defense. Favio explains: ‘Moreira no toma conciencia del juego hasta el final, si es que llega a tomar conciencia’ [Moreira is not aware of the game until the very end, if he ever is aware] (Giménez Zapiola, 1972, 59). Just like El Cuerudo, who considers the implications of losing Dr. Marañón’s support, Moreira appears to have few options.

Unlike the other gauchesque films, Juan Moreira presents elements of auteurism. Moreira’s feverish state as a result of his gunshot wound sets the stage for an exploration of his conscience. In dream-like scenes, he faces Death (Alba Mujica), a recurrent theme in Favio’s films (Farina, 1993, 30). Similar to Santos Vega, in which the singer-gaucho met Juan Sin Ropa, Death addresses Moreira, who forcefully resists her entreaties.5 His innocence is brought to the fore when he warns her: ‘me voy a hacer chiquito para que no me encuentres’ [I will make myself small so that you cannot find me]. Moreira’s resistance gives way to a passive acceptance of his destiny when he allows Death to take him. Nonetheless, he manages to convince her to play cards with him, a game that he apparently wins only to realize, when Death mentions a smallpox outbreak, that she has taken someone else in his place. The camera focuses on a picture of a child, Moreira’s son and Death’s latest victim. The funeral for Moreira’s son, depicted as the little angel, is attended by military men seeking the criminal gaucho. Consequently, the father is not allowed to say farewell to his only son, as Moreira’s voice-over explains, referring to his dirtiness and embarrassment. This is a moment of epiphany for Moreira: the promised pardon is taking too long.

Moreira’s rejection of the criminal life is far from easy. Once recuperated, he presses Dr. Acosta (Pablo Cumo) for his promised acquittal in a tense exchange which ends when the famous gaucho leaves the politician’s home, physically breaking free from the illegal ties that bound him. In a scene that stresses his sense of liberation, he dictates his letter to Laura (Elena Tritek), a (p.116) trusted prostitute, confiding his reasons and swearing allegiance—along with that of his followers’—to Dr. Marañón and the political party he represents, thus changing sides. The scenes in the brothel provide a much-needed respite for the gaucho. Nonetheless, Moreira is characterized in a payada as chameleonic, switching political colors. Sensing the critique of Moreira, Andrade stops the song. This episode signals the way in which forces are beginning to conspire against Moreira and his men. First, Andrade recognizes a paid criminal in the brothel, a man hired by Acosta to kill Moreira. Second, Marañón warns Moreira to lie low during the elections as there is a risk of political intervention. The tension is palpable on election day as the camera pans from one tense face to another. Provoked, Acosta’s hired criminal meets Moreira in daylight for a duel in which he is killed. But the election’s results are properly celebrated: a medium shot captures Moreira in the house, while his followers and the gauchos enjoy popular entertainment outdoors. A new thunderstorm forebodes imminent doom and divides the compadres: while El Cuerudo stays with a chinita [young rural peasant], Moreira and Andrade seek refuge in a brothel.

Moreira’s downfall is part of a political pact. The result of the election tainted by the accusation of fraud is used as the reason to make Dr. Marañón hand Moreira over to the Buenos Aires police. First, hand-held cameras are deployed for El Cuerudo’s arrest, which leads to his confession of Moreira’s whereabouts. Second, Andrade is brutally beaten and taken from the brothel, which is quickly occupied by the police, who besiege Moreira and the prostitute. Attentive to her safety, the rebel gaucho seeks a truce and releases her. The camera captures his indecision as he slowly considers his options while soft music is heard in the background.6 With a shout of ‘Aquí está Juan Moreira, mierda’ [Here comes Juan Moreira, shit!], he takes on the men waiting to capture him as the music becomes more prominent.7 A bloody and wounded Moreira finally emerges from the brothel. His steps toward the wall that separates him from freedom are captured in slow-motion, focusing on his suffering expression.8 The film emphasizes his martyrdom: dressed in white, Moreira’s walk resembles the passion of Jesus Christ.9 The score stresses his daring attempt to flee (Oubiña and Aguilar, 1993, 101). In that sense, Lieutenant Chirino’s act of injuring Moreira from behind lacks heroism and is presented as a betrayal, but a treachery that the wounded gaucho avenges before dying. A final piece of poetic license allows him to stand up and, dagger in one hand and poncho in the other, ready himself to attack whomever may come. His frozen image in white, contrasting with a dark background, signals his transformation into a mythical figure.

Juan Moreira’s genre is different from the other gauchesque films as its status as a heritage film is somewhat problematic. On the one hand, it is a quality film with a number of breathtaking shots of the pampa and its narrative is told mostly in the realist mode, recreating a specific historical period the late 1800s. On the other hand, there are scenes that break with realism: the dialogue with Death constitutes a surrealist element that, while it enriches the (p.117) plot, creates distance from the traditional heritage film. In addition, Moreira is an anti-hero. Certainly, he is a victim of the harassment of several authorities that represent civilization, which leads him to live temporarily with the Indians, among whom he finds refuge.10 Nonetheless, what separates Juan Moreira from the other gauchesque films is the main character’s open embrace of the criminal life, which does not allude to a period of national greatness, but rather to one of divisiveness and antagonism. Here it is important to note Raggio’s assertion that ‘Moreira se convierte en un símbolo no sólo del gaucho desplazado […] sino de todos los desplazados por el sistema’ [Moreira becomes a symbol not only of the displaced gaucho, (…) but also of all those displaced by the system] (2011, 89). Certainly, Favio’s film depicts a criminal defeated by authorities who engage in illegal activity and abuse their power. Thus, the film is not set in a period of national greatness that could instill generalized pride in the audience. As discussed before when mentioning the film’s reception at the time of its release, Juan Moreira was praised for its national theme, which corresponded to a political moment in which there was a heightened sense of national crisis—and also renewal—in Argentine politics. Consequently, the film spoke to middlebrow Argentine sensibilities.

Unlike the other gauchesque films, Juan Moreira does not have many Western elements.11 It does not offer an idealized version of the Argentine past that could provide viewers with a roadmap for the new challenges facing the nation in the 1970s. While it is true that the civilization versus barbarism dialectic appears as the film’s subtext, Moreira’s unlawful deeds do not present him as a proponent of progress, rather he represents unchecked violence. His ‘community’ is composed of other gauchos and his compas—a shortened form of the word compadres, but which can also mean compañero, in allusion to Peronism. On the other hand, Moreira and his followers have certain qualities, like integrity and protection of the weakest, which are not seen in the authorities. Consequently, Juan Moreira reveals that civilization is full of barbarism and the barbaric shows signs of civilized behavior. This is another point of difference between Juan Moreira and Westerns. For Loy, the latter, ‘with few exceptions, projected the federal government as a dependable ally of the average citizen and an unrelenting foe of those who terrorized the common man’ (2001, 85). Thus, the restoration of order brought about by Moreira’s downfall is hollow as the wrongs that led him to criminality remain unpunished. In this sense, as Marcelo Tabarrozzi explains, ‘el tiempo representado apunta a traducir una vivencia popular y a plasmar, a través de la construcción de una espera histórica, una posibilidad de ser nunca resuelta, o posible solo en un plano épico’ [the represented time points to the translation of popular experience and, through the creation of a historical wait, to the possibility that there will never be a resolution or that one is only possible on the epic plane] (2005, 5). This historical wait for a time of justice further distances Juan Moreira from the Western, in which resolution usually takes place in the past to illustrate the values that anchor North American society. Finally, in Juan Moreira the erosion of the masculine (p.118) roles of breadwinner, protector, and father conspires against considering it a Western. If ‘in Westerns, the traditional role of father as an authority figure for the family and defender of the family unit was constantly reinforced’ (Loy, 2001, 109), in Favio’s film, Moreira appears unable to shield his family from disintegration. From the outset, the film characterizes the gaucho in his relation—or lack thereof—to the law, waiting for the lieutenant-major, being tortured, and leaving his family. Once Moreira returns from beyond the frontier, Vicenta has accepted the protection of another man and little Juan has been told that his father is dead. The lowest point in Moreira’s personal life comes when, even though he has been working to receive a pardon that would allow him to circulate freely, he cannot attend his son’s funeral due to his status as an outlaw.12

One area in which Favio’s Juan Moreira resembles some Westerns lies in pointing to fault lines in the building of the national community. Like Martín Fierro, Juan Moreira could be seen as resembling a traumatic Western. Juan Moreira’s finale, in which law and order are imposed, is riddled with issues that taint the process and shed a negative light on the authority of the militia. In doing so, the film does not suggest an idealization of the past, but rather points to the persistent flaws in the development of the Argentine nation, particularly in what pertains to the state’s monopoly of violence. That is to say, the state’s legitimation of violence to impose law and order smacked of protecting certain interests to the detriment of those of the individual, of the many ‘Juanes.’ Juan Moreira stages the plight of the Argentine ‘underdogs’: those whose stories had to be forgotten or omitted to prioritize the process of nation-building. Thus, Raggio correctly asserts that ‘el film puede ser leído en una nueva clave interpretativa, como crítica de la historia y del discurso historiográfico oficial’ [the film can be read in a new interpretative key, as a critique of history, and of the official historiographic discourse] (2011, 89). This innovative message, which touches on the construction of history, would later be deployed in Argentine cinema to revisit the years of the military dictatorship (1976–1983).13

Nonetheless, one feature of Juan Moreira problematizes the issue of the gauchesque. In Favio’s film, the main character, the criminal gaucho, is denied his voice. Unlike in Martín Fierro or Santos Vega, where the voice of the gaucho is heard though his songs, or in Don Segundo Sombra, where voice-overs accompany flashbacks and allow the articulation of the young gaucho’s thoughts, in Favio’s film Moreira is not given the opportunity to tell his side of the story. The film’s short dialogues certainly contribute to informing the viewer about the main character’s intentions, but Moreira’s story is an interpretation by the filmmaker. Several shots reinforce the fact that Moreira is narrated and told. For instance, Raggio astutely observes that the several scenes in which the gaucho is seen through a barred window emphasize the point that the gaucho is limited by the civilized spaces of houses and offices (2011, 39). The final scenes in the brothel, where his imprisonment is shot through a bird’s-eye view, and he tries to reach the wall that separates him (p.119)

Juan Moreira

Juan Moreira’s closing scene.

from the plain (slow motion, frontal shots) also stress that he is seen, rather than given the opportunity to let his voice be heard.

With Juan Moreira, the biopictional films about gauchos come to an end. Of them, only Juan Moreira presents a challenging memory. The defeated is ready to stand up and deliver a final blow, but seeks the public’s engagement in the dissemination of his daring attitude. Contrary to this, in Martín Fierro, Fierro’s and Cruz’s sons will circulate the memory of their father and their father’s friend. In Santos Vega, Vega’s beauty and musical talent live on as part of his legend while in Don Segundo Sombra, it is Fabio who passes on the memory of the gaucho who taught him rural tasks and ways. Thus, Favio’s film, particularly the final frozen image of Moreira ready to fight holding his poncho in one hand and his dagger in the other, appears as a potent memory that hopes to stimulate the national imagination. At the time the film was released, the image of a standing man ready to fight appeared in marked contrast to the shots of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara’s posthumous photos that showed him lying on a stretcher. Moreira’s final-shot portraiture allows us to consider the film a historical epic which ‘celebrate[s] the heroic male body, a figure of physical prowess, who must prove his courage and skill’ (Thompson, 2011, 46).14 In this sense and in contrast to the other gauchesque films, Juan Moreira may be considered an epic film which sought to appeal to Argentine viewers by presenting the gaucho’s search for freedom and dignity as a model for the national community at a time of bipolarization between (p.120) capitalist West and communist East.15 In Favio’s film, Moreira appears as the capable anti-hero who subdues several militia men in his attempt to escape. Even when fatally injured, he summons his physical force to dispose of his attacker.16 The last frozen image of his daring figure ready to fight further highlights his epic personality. In an interview with Adriana Schettini, Favio said that myths remain alive in people’s memory (1995, 136). Thus, the standing Moreira constitutes a powerful memory destined to elicit an emotional response from the audience.

In addition to its well-crafted qualities, Juan Moreira enjoyed great popularity as a result of extra-filmic elements. Chief among them was the long-awaited return of Juan Perón in 1973, after 18 years of exile. Despite his advanced age, the former president was an icon of the national revolution for which both left- and right-wing groups had been working underground. Consequently, Moreira and Perón were rebel figures in their own way. Talking about rebel figures in popular culture, Mark Gallagher asserts that they ‘permit viewers to entertain fantasies of antisocial or autonomous behavior while reaffirming viewers’ own (unrebellious) social positions’ (2006, 10). Juan Moreira certainly emphasized autonomy and antisocial behavior, particularly for the young militant sympathizers for whom he stood as a symbol of resistance. Argentina’s political events would soon show the inconvenience of such fantasies and actions when, on June 20, upon his arrival to Argentina, Juan Perón publicly broke with the leftist youth. Amid this climate of political and social unrest, a more inclusive version of the gauchos was shot.

In 1974, two gauchesque films were released. The first, on May 9, 1974 was La vuelta de Martín Fierro directed by Enrique Dawi and starring folk singer Horacio Guaraní (1925–). Because of this film’s similarity to both Martín Fierro—content wise—and Santos Vega—in the choice to cast a popular singer—it will not be analyzed here. The second gauchesque film, Los gauchos judíos, added the depiction of the Jewish community and its integration into Argentine culture, and hence provides a new take on the genre.

Notes:

(1) Out of the 50 movie theatres, 40 were located in Buenos Aires.

(2) Upon learning of Vicenta’s union with Giménez, Moreira states: ‘Ahora he de pelear para defender mi vida, porque quiero vivir para vengarme de los que me han insultado en mi desgracia, aprovechándose de una mujer desvalida’ [Now I am going to defend my life because I want to avenge those who have insulted me in my misfortunate, taking advantage of an unprotected woman] (Gutiérrez, Juan Moreira, 117).

(3) Unlike other gauchos, such as Martín Fierro or Santos Vega, Moreira was a well-off character in Gutierrez’s novel: ‘Moreira poseía una tropa de carretas, que era su capital más productivo y en la que traía a la estación de tren grandes acopios de frutos del país que se le confiaban conociendo su (p.121) honradez’ [Moreira had a fleet of carts, which was his most productive asset and in which he delivered to railway stations large amounts of indigenous fruit that were entrusted to him because of his honesty] (Gutiérrez, Juan Moreira, 5).

(4) Favio’s admiration and rapport with Torre Nilsson is well-known given that the latter hired Favio for many of his films and Favio dedicated his first film, Crónica de un niño solo, to Torre Nilsson. This scene’s similarity to Martín Fierro (1968) may be an homage paid to Torre Nilsson, who initiated the gauchesque films in the late 1960s.

(5) Farina notes that this scene was influenced by Ingmar Bergman (1918–2007) (1993, 28).

(6) Hugo Biondi states that: ‘en Juan Moreira la música se constituye en un valor en sí misma. Tiene una potencia arrolladora’ [in Juan Moreira, the soundtrack constitutes a veritable asset. It has an overwhelming power] (2007, 67).

(7) For Marcela Raggio, ‘todos los personajes de Favio están condicionados por un determinismo social, histórico o individual’ [all of Favio’s characters are conditioned by social, historic, or individual determinism] (2011, 91).

(8) In a wink to a previous oeuvre, this scene resembles the ending of El romance del Aniceto y la Francisca, Favio’s second film.

(9) Raggio calls attention to Favio’s use of Christian imagery in his films (2011, 84–86). Oubiña and Aguilar mention the tragic character of Moreira (1993, 99).

(10) In this part, Favio’s film deviates from the novel in which Moreira tricks Coliqueo (Gutiérrez, Juan Moreira, 121–25).

(11) Oubiña and Aguilar consider Juan Moreira a Western or ‘film-llanura’ [prairie-film] (1993, 98).

(12) The death of his son constitutes a blow to the gaucho, and stresses that with Moreira’s death, his whole class of compadres disappears.

(13) The most important film that continues this line is Los hijos de Fierro [Fierro’s Sons] (Fernando Solanas, 1974). Others are La historia oficial [The Official History] (Luis Puenzo, 1983) and Verónico Cruz (Miguel Pereira, 1988).

(14) Oubiña and Aguilar do not consider the fight epic (1993, 103).

(15) Favio mentions Moreira’s turning into an epic (Schettini, 1995, 127).

(16) In the novel, Moreira’s last action is described as follows: ‘aquel hombre excepcional levantó su brazo armado aun por la daga, y amagó una última puñalada’ [that exceptional man raised his arm, armed still with a dagger, and attempted a final stab] (n.d., 211).