Criticism: Criticism of “María Marta: El Crimen del Country”, fiction series directed by Daniela Goggi (HBO Max)

Coinciding with the third oral trial for the crime of María Marta García Belsunce, which will be 20 years in three more months, HBO is launching this fictional series that has more findings than shortcomings.

María Marta: The crime of country (Argentina/2022). Direction: Daniela Goggi. Cast: Jorge Marrale, Laura Novoa, Carlos Belloso, Muriel Santa Ana, Mike Amigorena, Guillermo Arengo, Valeria Lois, Esteban Bigliardi, Ana Celentano, María Leal, Nicolás Francella, Beatriz Spelzini, Horacio Peña, Carlos Santamaría, Carlos Portaluppi and Arturo Bonín . Script: Martín Méndez with the collaboration of Germán Loza. Photography: Guillermo Zappino. Music: Juan Blas Caballero. Edition: Juan Pablo Lloret. Art direction: Carina Luján. Warner Bros. Discovery Latin America series made by Pol-ka for HBO Max. Duration: 8 episodes of between 41 and 45 minutes each. Available from Sunday, July 17 on HBO and HBO Max.

“Nobody gets justice. People only get good or bad luck.”. Orson Welles’ phrase is used as a prelude to this new approach to one of the most popular, mediated, controversial and morbid cases in Argentine police history.

Following the success of the very strong Netflix documentary series Carmel: Who killed Maria Marta?, Warner/HBO now produced a fiction of eight episodes of between 40 and 45 minutes each, three of them advanced by the producers for this review. Although precisely because there are five chapters left to see, a “definitive” analysis cannot be made (no analysis is definitive), these first three installments do allow some evaluations to be made in terms of structure, tone, rhythm, reconstruction, performances and various technical decisions and artistic.

Although the case long precedes the current furor of the true crime stories on streaming platforms, María Marta: The crime of country In many ways, it seems prey to fashion in terms of a pendulum bet that takes us from the time before, the moment and immediately after the crime (2002) to different key moments in the evolution of the legal case (a good part of it takes place in 2011). . Everything, of course, with the sign that indicates the date and its distance from the moment of death.

As in all fiction there is “artistic licence” (the prosecutor for Pilar Diego Molina Pico here is called Marcos del Río and is played by Mike Amigorena, while the neighbor Nicolás Pachelo, who now appears as the main defendant, is played by Nicolás Francella with the name of Matías Centeno), but almost all the rest of the main characters appear with their real names: Carlos Carrascosa (Jorge Marrale), María Marta García Belsunce (Laura Novoa), Horacio García Belsunce (Carlos Belloso), Guillermo Bártoli (Guillermo Arengo ), John Hurtig (Esteban Bigliardi), Irene Hurtig (Ana Celentano), Horacio García Belsunce (father) (Arturo Bonín) or Judge Mariano Bergès (Carlos Portaluppi), to name just a few.

In this fiction, the bloggers Belu Franessi (Muriel Santa Ana) and Juana Gomez Andrada (Valeria Lois) acquire an important role to make the story grow outside the judicial dynamics and the victim’s family, who start on their own a thorough and at times dangerous investigation of the case, in addition to coming into direct contact with Carrascosa himself, who at that time remained in prison.

Director Daniela Goggi (abzurdah, the red thread) achieves a narration with enough tension and intensity to sustain attention, although it also appeals to a pompous musical setting with permanent underlining that forces an artificial emotional reaction on the part of the viewer. On the credit side you have to place his ability to direct a cast with most of more than convincing performances.

María Marta: The crime of country It has an element that works for and against it at the same time: it is one of the cases best known by the mass public. Thus, on the one hand, it has multiple aspects to hook the audience (from the successive manipulations and twists and turns to the role of the most sensationalist media), but at times it also runs the risk of offering “more of the same” with respect to situations that millions of viewers already saw in that kind of live broadcast 24 hours a day that had the different trials, exhumations, arrests and other vicissitudes of a case about the miseries of power, Justice and the upper class in a exclusive private neighborhood, which fascinated and moved (and somehow continues to do so) Argentine society.

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