The Girlfriend (film)

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The Girlfriend
Movie poster
Directed by Jeanine Meerapfel
Produced by Hans-Gerhard Stahl
Jeffrey Steiner
Written by Osvaldo Bayer
Alcides Chiesa
Agnieszka Holland
Jeanine Meerapfel
Starring Liv Ullmann
Cipe Lincovsky
Music by José Luis Castiñeira de Dios
Cinematography Axel Block
Edited by Juliane Lorenz
Release dates
  • September 21, 1988 (1988-09-21)
Running time 110 minutes
Country Argentina
West Germany
Language German, Spanish

The Girlfriend (Spanish: 'La Amiga') is a 1988 Argentine drama film directed by Jeanine Meerapfel. The film was written by Osvaldo Bayer and Alcides Chiesa and was produced jointly with Germany. The film starred Liv Ullman, Cipe Lincovsky and Federico Luppi.


María and Pancho (Liv Ullman and Federico Luppi) are a happily married couple in a quiet, working-class suburb south of Buenos Aires, circa 1978. They share the grief over the disappearance of their eldest son Carlos (Gonzalo Arguimbau), with María's lifelong friend Raquel Kessler (Cipe Lincovsky), a feisty Jewish girl whose cultural identity made her a target to some; but all the more endearing to María, her only gentile childhood friend. "Married" to the theatre, in which she became prominent, Raquel's career has been protected from anti-Semitic attacks by her lover Diego (Victor Laplace), an influential public television executive who skillfully maintains a balance between his love for the opinionated Raquel and the need to placate the repressive mindset prevalent in that era's dictatorship.

María's relentless search for her son strains her relationship with both her husband and Raquel, who give up hope after lengthy and costly attempts to find him. Raquel's own Jewish identity and fondness for roles "discouraged" by the dictatorship such as Antigone cause her serious problems, as well, and lead to her exile in Berlin. María, who had always led a quiet life, earns the growing respect of her fellow Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, women from all walks of life united by their search for their detained sons and daughters (most of whom were known by the dictatorship to be uninvolved in political violence). This mission becomes her life's passion and eventually leads her to Berlin, where a German Argentine exile tells her of his having seen Carlos near death at one of the many secret government detention centers, an anecdote rejected by the grieving María, who returns to Buenos Aires driven to find her son. Raquel herself returns to Argentina following democratic elections in 1983, finding that Diego is unhappily married and that María will never accept the death of her son as fact. Bewildered, Raquel nearly gives up on María; finding instead that the bonds of a lifelong friendship endure.


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