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Screening of “The Distinguished Citizen”

24 August 2017

The Embassy of Argentina goes back to Brooklyn Cinema Noveau to present another masterpiece from Argentinian cinema. As it had happened with “The Secret in their Eyes” and “Wild tales”, “The Distinguished Citizen” was screened on Thursday 17 August for the enjoyment of many guests: diplomats accredited in other Embassies in Pretoria, Journalists, government officials and cinema lovers in general, who are regulars at the Embassy’s screenings.

The Distinguished Citizen is a sharp Argentine comedy about a Nobel Prize winning writer, Daniel Mantovani, and in fact plays as if it was written by himself.

Contrary to what one might think, for Mantovani the Nobel Prize marks the ending of his creative career. He believes his acerbic, shocking style doesn’t have much to do with an award that recognizes those writers who the specialists, the academics and the kings are most comfortable with.

Five years after receiving the Nobel he hasn’t been able to write anything else and he’s rejecting the many invitations he receives in his honor from all around the world. Yet, he makes an impetuous and incongruous acceptance of an invitation from his hometown, Salas, to receive the “Distinguished Citizen” medal.

Even if his little town in Argentina is home to all the characters in his stories, he had never had the interest, or the courage, to go back there in almost 40 years. Those are the many years he has lived in a self-imposed European exile.

Once he decides to return, he tries to deal with the attention he draws with an understandable amount of discomfort, which he tries to turn, at the beginning, into politeness and good humour. Everyone in the town seems to have a strong reaction towards him, which is quite normal for such an important person coming from such a mediocre environment. What he had never predicted, though, was that those reactions would become violently negative as his bald and bare speeches and actions take place during his 4 day visit to Salas.

The story, which is full of colorful characters, has the potential of an Italian style “commedia”, but the directors, Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat, who had already collaborated in the also acclaimed “The Man Next Door”, keep situations very thematically focused.

Much of the film success belongs to Oscar Martínez, who won Best Actor at the 2016 Venice Film Festival for his performance as Daniel Mantovani. Martínez intelligently plays the protagonist as a rough character, who’s not interested in being likeable because his roughness comes out of complete honesty with himself and the world around him. Ironically that is what makes us fall for him.  

The movie has not been released in South African theaters. For queries related to it or other Argentinian film screenings e-mail the Embassy of Argentina at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Embassy of Argentina in South Africa



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