Biography of Luis Puenzo (1946-VVVV)

Director of Argentine cinema, born February 19, 1946 in Floresta (Argentina).


Educated in a family full of concerns beyond what were their respective professions, the film became one of major children's entertainment by Luis Puenzo, so far as that on the occasion of a birthday was given a 16 mm projector. After a fleeting stint in a military school, which would be expelled for his misconduct, ended up working as an Illustrator in an advertising agency. His then meeting with Alejandro Castro marked a turning point in his life, since he was learning the rudiments of the cinematic technique of the hand of one of the most prestigious advertising filmmakers. Just a year later, independence to create the company Luis Puenzo Publicidad, which, thanks to the success with one of his first ads, became one of the most reputable in the country, a position he held for almost two decades space. However, the film projects that tried to set in motion during those years shipwrecked before the shooting, including one with the humorous group Les Luthiers, so Puenzo might not debut in this field until 1973, with lights of my shoes. This child movie, starring comedian Pipo Pescador, would be a failure at the box office, which would have its continuation in the episodes the surprises feature, inspired by stories of the Uruguayan writer Mario Benedetti.

The lack of interest of the public for film proposals of Luis Puenzo, joined the Argentine institutional crisis, with the resurgence of censorship, led him to rethink his career. For nearly ten years he remained away from the cinema, until the crisis provoked by the Falklands war led him to develop a script about those people who have remained in Argentina under the abuses of the military regime in power. Thus arises the official history, awarded with the Oscar to the best foreign language film and the Palme d'Or to the best female interpretation of the Festival de Cannes. The film focused on the numerous children of missing persons whom the military, after torturing and murdering their parents, had been adopted, and generated a strong controversy in Argentina, where the wounds of this genocide remained open.

The success of the official story led to Puenzo to Hollywood, where locked contact with actress Jane Fonda, who suggested the possibility of adapting the novel by Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes. The production problems were substantial, starting with the need to replace with unusual speed the character chosen in principle, Burt Lancaster, by Gregory Peck, since insurance companies refused to cover the risk of a possible accident during filming. Portrait of the clash between Anglo and Hispanic communities during the Mexican Revolution, the epic tone of images converted to old Gringo in a blockbuster old-fashioned. However the film had a popular reception moderate, which came partly caused by the fact that the British David Puttnam, one of the mentors of the project, stopped being the head of the production company Columbia.

Back in Argentina, he began to develop the screenplay for what will eventually be the plague, adaptation of the eponymous novel by Albert Camus. This work, one of the peaks of Existentialist fiction, posed an enormous challenge, especially to have a cast of international stars who spoke different languages and moving the action to an undetermined Latin American city. Starring William Hurt, Sandrine Bonnaire, Jean Marc Barr and Robert Duvall, sparked the usual division of opinions between advocates of purity in literary adaptations, to the point that Puenzo finished assembling a double version of different footage, a shorter which would be exhibited in commercial theaters and another for your pass at international festivals, cinematheques and specialized cinemas.


Largometrajes.1973: Light of my shoes. 1975: The surprises [code].1984: The official story. 1988: Old gringo. 1991: The plague. 2003: The whore and the whale.


Garcia OLIVERI, Ricardo: Luis Puenzo. Center Latin America Editor, National Institute of cinematography. Buenos Aires, 1993.