The Clan

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Based on a true story The Clan is about a criminal family in 1980s Argentina, a period when the military dictatorship was coming to an end and democracy was reinstalled. The Clan follows the Puccio family’s antics in kidnapping rich neighbours for a ransom.

It is a politically turbulent period, with their first victim having already been kidnapped before. It is never made explicit, but it is implied that father Arquimedes learned the tactics of extortion through working for the state.

The Clan’s anchor is the dynamic relationship between Arquimedes and eldest son Alejandro. On the face of it a crime thriller, The Clan is actually an exploration of the complex relationships that exist in a family.

It shows the contradictory nature of family relationships — how Arquimedes can be both ruthless and a diligent father and husband.

The film leaves a fair amount to the viewer’s interpretation. Initially we are led to believe that Arquimedes is acting on an instinct to protect his family, but instead see him unscrupulously and cruelly continue on a kidnapping spree for nothing other than financial gain.

Alejandro’s journey from locally famous rugby star to criminal is an interesting one. He is uncomfortable with the violent crimes but plays a part in them and enjoys the material benefits.

Arquimedes is an archetypal patriarch: he uses his emotional capital and brute strength to coerce his family members into a criminal life. The film chronicles his descent from well respected member of the military dictatorship to outlier in
the new democracy.

Guillermo Francella brings intensity to this complex role.

The Clan has a wonderful soundtrack that uses music from the period and adds dynamism to the short punchy scenes.

The influence of director Martin Scorcese is clear in everything from the gratuitous nudity to the dark humour. The film is full of so many twists and turns it’s easy to forget it’s based on a real story — and easy to see why the case of the
Puccio family has intrigued Argentinians for decades.

The Clan is an engaging film. It’s no surprise that it has received acclaim on an international scale. It does investigate the politics of the period and this is its strength as it shows that the world is not full of “goodies” and “baddies” but rather people making decisions based on complex reasons.