Héctor Faver with Patricio Guzmán & Fred Kelemen
Spain, 2000, 95 min.
It is structured around three narratives. A framework story and two stories that run parallel to each other. The framework story is a reconstruction of the shooting of Hector Faver’s first super8 film he did with two friends at the age of 12. A story about kidnapping and rescue. Though a boyhood story, it holds the essence of the film: kidnapping the opponents of the military dictatorship.
The two parallel stories are a documentary and a fictional story respectively. Through interviews and archive material, the documentary tells the story of the mothers and grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo who fight for justice for their sons and daughters and grandchildren who were taken away and killed by the military government. They refuse to accept that former generals are pardoned by the new leaders. It also turns into Argentine anti-Semitism when the Israeli association AMIA was bombed in ’94, killing 86 people.
The fictional story is told by a male voiceover to give the illusion that he is the writer who is in the process of writing the story as it unfolds. It is a love story between two dwarves. The woman keeps searching for her lost past, the circus she worked in, her ex-lover, her mother. And she keeps disappearing from the man who constantly searches for her. It takes place in an absurd dreamlike world always shrouded in the darkness of night– like in the sub-conscious or the underworld.
The statement of the film is that you cannot just forgive and forget when the perpetration involves such a fundamental violation as the State’s atrocity to its citizens. You need to bring everything forward into the light and hold the guilty persons responsible. One of the mothers says, “Whoever forgives an assassin is the same as he is.”
Invocation attempts a new personal approach to the historical documentary. As often happens whenever fiction and documentary are combined, the documentary comes across as the strongest part. The fictional part works at establishing a mood of being lost in the dark in an eternal search. It also serves as an intellectual superstructure open to various interpretations to add a more profound understanding of the concepts of memory and justice.
The writer’s voiceover set-up works to put focus on the creation of a film – juxtaposed to the creation of history. History is formed by those in power, and the story they tell is perceived as true history. But truth also resembles the creation of a film – it is merely a story that may be far from the truth.