Easy Money (Plata Dulce)

Institute History

  • 1988 Sundance Film Festival


Made during the waning days of military rule and opening in Buenos Aires just one month after Argentina’s defeat in the Malvinas War, Plate Dulce reveals the economic chaos and ethical turpitude that accompanied the junta’s downfall. In 1982, inflation stood at 165% and rising. Banks were beginning to lose deposits as the rate of inflation outstripped that of interest. The social fabric, even as defined under the dictatorship, was beginning t unravel.

Plata Dulce is a rare example of social satire, which has never been a prominent genre in Argentine cinema. Its biting portrait of everyday life in 1981-82 may toe the line for its time (in presumed deference to censorship parameters, for instance, there is no mention of politics or the “disappeared”), yet it constitutes a perfect snapshot of what was going wrong. In the film two brothers-in-law part ways as one quickly goes bankrupt while his ex-partner seems to be skyrocketing to success. As one’s daughter becomes the other’s mistress, a business trip turns into a set-up, and casual signatures become the partner to fraud, nothing finally turns out to be what it seemed. He who rose highest ends by falling furthest in Ayala’s biting comedy of life on the make. A prelude to the kind of filmmaking that would follow the democratization of Argentine society in the following year, Plata Dulce suggests just how far it was possible to go so long as certain obvious truths were avoided.

— Tony Safford

Screening Details

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