Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s hit musical isn’t just on Broadway. This is no news flash, as Evita the film came out in 1996, but we’d like to remind you that if you’re planning a trip to Argentina, this may just have to be on your movie list! Madonna and Antonio Banderas make a memorable pair in the film adaptation of Eva Duarte Perón’s life story, a girl who sets out on a journey to stardom and fame in 20th century Argentina.
Amidst political strife and military takeovers, Eva Duarte, played by the one and only Madonna, is a working class girl seeking the big city lights of Buenos Aires of the early 1930s. Banderas plays the keenly observant and somewhat critical narrator who presents Evita for all she hopes to be (and all she fails to be) wonderfully in song.
The story begins in rural Argentina as Eva who has been pushed to the margins of society by the upper and middle class seeks to follow her dreams to the “Big Apple,” Buenos Aires. She is a naïve yet confident starlet who moves swiftly from struggling actress to model, sound radio star to the “high flying, adored” First Lady beside President Juan Perón. The movie follows her as she navigates the social mazes of Buenos Aires, wins the admiration of the working class, founds a charitable organization, and becomes a national idol and to a certain extent, Argentina’s ‘spiritual leader’.
Evita is a tale told exclusively in song, and is one rife with drama and disappointment, chaos and corruption, dreams achieved and crushed. The history retold in song lightens the horrors of Argentina’s past, yet still serves as a scathing social commentary on the political state of the country in the mid-1900s. The tension that exists between the upper and lower classes, and the rise of a commoner to the upper echelons of the social and political state leaves many people undone. Eva’s passion for her people paired with her early death at 33 set the scene for a dynamic and emotion-filled film.
If you’re looking for a classic musical and a small glimpse into Argentina’s past, check out Evita.