• Golden Globe Awards

The Crimes That Bind (Argentina)

It seems the criminal justice system is not unfairly skewed towards the white and rich only in the United States but in other countries as well.
The story of Crímenes de Familia, the original title of this Argentine film, centers on two court cases happening to the same household in Buenos Aires. On one hand, there is Daniel Arrieta (Benjamín Amadeo), the blond, blue-eyed only son of a well-to-do family who is accused of physical mistreatment, sexual abuse, violating his restraining order and a whole slew of other charges by his ex-wife. On the other hand, there is Gladys Pereira (played by Yanina Avila, a relative newcomer), the family’s housekeeper, an uneducated girl from a remote Argentinian village who allegedly strangled her newborn baby.
Daniel’s mother Alicia, convinced that her son is innocent, talks his father, her husband Ignacio (Miguel Angel Solá), into throwing money at Buenos Aires’ most powerful and expensive defense attorney so he can “grease” some wheels. Gladys gets a public defender. The juxtapositions play out around the different characters, including Daniel’s ex-wife, but it is Alicia whose inner struggle and beliefs are the most vivid.
Director and producer Sebastián Schindel, known for Mundo Alas, The Boss: Anatomy of a Crime, and Rerum Novarum specializes in this genre. Cecilia Roth, who plays Alicia is not just a star in her own country but became famous internationally after working with Pedro Almodóvar on five of his films dating as far back as his debut, Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras Chicas del Montón (1980) and also acting in Laberinto de Pasiones, Habla con Ella, most notably Todo Sobre mi Madre and most recently Pain and Glory. The film is based on real events. There is a quote at the end of the film from a poem by German author Bertolt Brecht, titled “Concerning the Infanticide of Maria Farrar” that sums up the victim’s feelings and actions. No spoilers here, though.