Director: Marco Bechis. Screenwriters: M. Bechis, Lara Fremder. Photography: Ramiro Civita. Editing: Jacopo Quadri. Costumes: Caterina Giargia. Scenography: Romulo Abad, with coll. Jorge Sarudiansky and Esther Musatti. Music: Jacques Lederlin.
Executive production: Daniel Barman, Diego Dubcovsky. principal cast Antonella Costa (Maria), Carlos EchevarrÃŒa (Felix), Pablo Razuk (Texas), Enrique PiÃ’eyro (Tigre), Marcelo Chaparro (Turco), Adrian Fondari (Rubio), Miguel Oliveira (Nene), Dominique Sanda (Diane, mamma di Maria), Chiara Caselli (Ana, militante), Paola Bechis (Gloria).
Cannes Film Festival 1999, Un certain Regard.
Maria is a militant activist in an organisation opposed to the military dictatorship in Argentina. She teaches reading and writing in the shanty towns and lives with her mother in an old and run-down residence in which her mother rents out some of the rooms. One of the lodgers, Felix, a young and timid man, is in love with Maria. He seems to have no past nor family and he looks after a garage - at least this what he says. One morning, Maria is carried off, in front of her mother, by a military squad dressed in civilian clothes. The young woman is taken to the Olimpo garage, one of the numerous torture chambers which haunt Buenos Aires to the general indifference of the population. In order to make Maria talk, Tigre, the head of the centre, gives her to one of his best men: Felix, the lodger. Her survival, her only hope of salvation is Felix, her torturer.
Tough, thrilling, uncompromising [...] Bechis's skill lies in directing this story of horrors, too soon forgotten, with extraordinary reserve, never indulging in a superfluous shot or an easy effect - aided by a script that is intelligent and rigorous, and a cast of unknown actors.
Irene Bignardi, La Repubblica
The merit of this uncompromising film is that it reminds us of truths that concern us but are too easily forgotten: the banality of evil, the constant threat posed by the controlling and repressive actions of all bureaucracies.
Goffredo Fofi, Panorama
The memory left by Garage Olimpo lingers, like a stain, like dirt. It is very different from the indignation that leaves us feeling gratified and self-satisfied; it is something longer-lasting, something that sticks to our skin and is hard to get rid of. It is nausea.
Gustavo Noriega, El Amante
I have looked for a personal style in which to narrate, rather than torture itself, the suffering of its victims. The disappearance of prisoners and the silence surrounding their fate were not chance occurrences, but the result of a decision taken scientifically and deliberately at the very start of the military dictatorship (Marco Bechis, Interview - excerpt).
Maria Pia Fusco, La Repubblica
His film is of a sickening, unsparing violence: the table of different voltages needed to match the victim's body weight, alternating with the ordinary sounds of everyday life: pop songs, football, ping pong. The monsters are among us, they clock into work just like us.
Maurizio Porro, Corriere della Sera