The Harshness of Destiny (Del Rigor del Destino)

Director: Gerardo Vallejo
Screenwriters: Gerardo Vallejo

Institute History

  • 1988 Sundance Film Festival


It is rare enough to find films shown outside of Buenos Aires, given the centralization of filmmaking in the capital and the prohibitive cost of shooting on location elsewhere. How much rarer, then, to discover a film which isn't only situated outside of this well-explored urban geography but also which takes style, theme, and very substance from its own region. El Rigor del Destino is just such a film, an ode to the possibilities of elsewhere, in this case Vallejo’s native Tucuman, famous as a site of popular struggle and resistance in Argentina history.

When a boy and his mother return to Tucuman after a seven year stay in Spain, the boy’s reunion with his grandfather in the countryside lays the groundwork for his rediscovery of his dead father’s life and work. On the one hand, then, Vallejo’s here makes his contribution to the new Argentine genre of return-from-exile movies, in which the protagonists’ return is the occasion for a confrontation with the past, where those who left are measured against those who stayed. On the other hand, though Vallejo’s main concern is not with the narrative at all but with the sweeping panorama of the Tucuman province, its people, and its spectacular history. It is in this sense that Vallejo takes his place alongside such directors as the Taviani Brothers in creating a cinematic paean to the spirit of a people as reflected in its collective manifestations and individual sagas.

— Tony Safford

Screening Details

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