La cordillera: the paths of power, narrated with mastery between the unconscious and the philosophy
As happened in El Estudiante and in another sense in La Patota, previous films by Santiago Miter, La Cordillera is a political film, far from the pamphlet. The director seems to be focused on observing and studying the philosophy and ethics of power rather than making a definitive statement. And it does so by portraying characters who are players in the practical field of politics, where theories and ideologies are faced with the reality of the needs and temptations of power.
The protagonist of La Cordillera is Hernán Blanco (Ricardo Darín), the new president of Argentina, invited to a summit of Latin American heads of state, in which he will have the opportunity to demonstrate his strength and cunning to negotiate with his peers the creation of a Regional organization of oil producing nations. While discussing his options with his right hand, Luisa (Erica Rivas), and his influential Cabinet Chief, Castex (Gerardo Romano), Blanco has to take care of a family problem involving his daughter Marina (Dolores Fonzi).
From the appearance of his daughter in the hotel where the summit takes place – and the session of hypnotism to which she submits – the film is changing its tone. It is the turning point in which the spectator seeking a political argument may feel frustrated in their expectations, but those who enjoy the suspense and appreciate the possibilities of the cinema to represent the unconscious will end up submerging themselves in the film.
There is a lot of Hitchcock in the Cordillera, but also some of the political-paranoid thrillers of the 70’s (All the President’s Men, The Three Condor Days). This disquieting climate that is dying the film is managed with mastery in all aspects, especially in the direction of actors, that manages to extract the best of a cast that squanders talent and in which each actor is the ideal to interpret the script of Miter and Mariano Llinás (including Christian Slater, whose intervention is brief but essential).
But in La Cordillera the facts are not seen from the side of the hero who investigates what is behind the political machinations, but from the closeness to the very powerful man who is involved in them and the only woman who confronts him. The film does not try to go down the line on how Blanco should be judged. In the end, what the viewer thinks about this fictitious president will say much more about himself than about the character.