Benjamín Ávila’s multi-award winning debut is drawn from his own experiences as a young boy in the politically oppressed South America of the 1970s. After years in exile with his family, 12 year old Juan (Teo Gutiérrez Moreno) returns to Argentina in 1979 to live under an assumed alias, as his revolutionary parents conspire to overthrow the ruling military dictatorship.
Upon return to Buenos Aires they take refuge with Juan’s uncle, whose chocolatepeanut business provides a front for their anti-government action. Argentina under the brutal government of General Jorge Rafael Videla saw millions “disappear”, and Juan’s family struggle to escape unscathed. Mystified by his parents’ plight, Juan’s first budding romance sees him distracted by his dawning sexuality. As a heartbreaking series of events unfold, Juan observes life around himself – unsure of where he fits in or how to make his voice heard.
Blending vivid memories with imaginative recreations, stylised animation boldly intersects the film in its darkest moments. Natalia Oreiro (My First Wedding, 2012’s festival hit) delivers a nuanced, moving performance as Juan’s mother Cristina. Riveting and beautifully touching, the deeply personal Clandestine Childhood marks Ávila as an unmistakable talent to watch.