Today, Argentine film plays an active role in international film production and has ensured that Argentina is a respected player in the modern day film industry.
The first cinematographic equipment arrived in Argentina from Paris in 1897 and this signalled the beginning of experimentation and development - the beginning of an Argentine Film Industry.
Over the next century, Argentina saw lots of firsts including the production of the world's firsts ever feature length animation in 1917, El Apostol, directed by Quirino Cristiani as well as producing Latin America's first female director. Films tended to include magical realist elements and a strong sense of Argentine culture up until the 1970's and the 1950's saw the first Argentine productions going to international film festivals and in turn, gaining massive international acclaim.
However, the military dictatorship between 1976-1983 (See Argentina History for more information) meant that heavy censorship put a stop to much artistic creativity throughout the country. The mid to late eighties saw a new wave of cinema which tended to tell of meloncholy and dark times, especially centred around the city of Buenos Aires. For example, Héctor Babenco's 1985 interpretation of Manuel Puig's dark novel 'Kiss of the Spider Woman' (1984, see Argentine Literature for more information). The Argentine film industry had just about got back on its feet with many enthusiastic young directors who wanted to express themselves after year of being silenced, however, Argentina's economic crisis led to another lull in cinematic production.
International directors began to get a foothold in the Argentine market, most notably the Hollywood influence. Similarly, it was British director Alan Parker who decided to direct multi-million dolar Evita in 1996, using U.S icon Madonna to play Argentina's heroine, Eva Perón. The Argentine response to this was to shoot their own version of the film the same year.
Needless to say, the 1990's and in to 2000 have been a productive time for Argentine cinema which keeps producing and gaining respect throughout the world. Films like Pedro Trapero's 2002, El Bonaerense which daringly tells of the corruptness behind the Buenos Aires police force in a half film/ half fly on the wall documentary style won awards in six Latin American and North American film festivals.
The last three years have seen the release of the largest number of Argentine movies, which only bodes well for Argentina's future as an important member of the ball game that is contemporary world cinema.