“The Distinguished Citizen” – an Argentinian Movie – free content
In Venice on September 8th, 2016 the Argentinian Movie “El Ciudadano Ilustre”, with the English title “The Distinguished Citizen” premiered. It was widely positively reviewed, won numerous movie awards, and was emphatically received by a worldwide audience (a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes still up to today). The, as a dark satirical comedy described, movie has been added to a North American streaming service and with that an even greater viewership can now enjoy this, I believe, quite refreshing South American movie production.
Film critique Benjamin Russel from Americas Quarterly writes “ … at the heart of The Distinguished Citizen are questions about the nature of creativity, ownership of art, and the vagrancy of truth. There is enough virtue in Daniel to keep the film’s title from being entirely ironic, but the wicked fun of this story comes when he gives in to his baser instincts and proves no more or less “distinguished” than his provincial counterparts. …”
I have read some other critiques about the movie, many of them were, to a large degree, positive and approving. Yet, I still left with the feeling that some of them did not do the movie the deserved justice. I created the day chart for the movie’s premier in the Venice Film Festival.
The Scorpio of the AC, with its planet Pluto in the second House, clearly tells us that we are dealing with a social process that is seemingly captured or “choked”. Meaning the development of the “herd organization” (second house) has been overruled, suffocated, and became stuck in behavioral patterns that should have been renewed a long time ago. That content is effectively revealed through the main character Daniel, who is again confronted with the unchanged hierarchical and societal fabric of his hometown after returning more than forty years after he had left.
But, it does not stop here, the movie is full of such moments. Another one is right at the beginning of the film, when Daniel is awarded the Nobel prize for literature. The movie demonstrates that the crusted and stiff societal, time encapsulated, behavioral pattern is not just limited to small town Argentina, it even stretches right into the highest peak of European society and culture. In short, when Pluto dominates and chokes, Uranus (the renewing energy of the Zodiac) is captured, with it “all life goes down” and the source of life dries out.
That very Pluto in the second house is aspected with Mars in the first house, emphasising the overall theme and problem of the protagonist: his energy of self-assertion is blocked by the village population – the reason why he left in the first place. The content of time with Moon-Saturn in the first house underlines the main theme of the movie: the “denied” source or blocked origin. Even returning to his hometown Daniel is not able to reconnect with the place of his youth.
“You can’t go home again” – quoted by some critics as the overall message of the movie, is fitting, but should not be confined to the general issue of someone who has left home and is unable to reconnect. The movie even more so demonstrates that a group – family, town or an organization even of the likes of the Nobel society – does not like to tolerate and foster any kind of renewable forces to prosper or to develop within. The renewing elements of society, in this case Daniel, are eliminated by it, or have to seek refuge elsewhere and if they return, they will likely be killed. The scene of Daniel being hunted down at the end of the movie makes that very clear. It nicely portrays the Mars-Pluto aspect of the chart, which showcases that individuals who try to provoke society to renew, will never be accepted and tolerated; there lies no difference between a rural village or the “sophisticated” Nobel society.
Daniel makes a fitting statement in the movie when he says in front of the Nobel society and the Swedish Royal couple – that the artist dies the moment, when they accept recognition from the group. I find his statement astrological truthful and fitting. If we like to view art as a provocative act, art dies at the moment when it is socially accepted. Either the artist surrenders by accepting the praise and/or prize money of the group, which naturally is his/her “enemy” or, which tends to be the less likely scenario, the “guardians of the social code of conduct and their followers” have to vacate their position.
In that context, music, film, and literary awards or even art competitions surely can be viewed quite differently. What they all have in common is really not about art – it is about controlling and regulating what is trying to bring out truth. Prizing and attempting to socially integrate art, kills not just the message it kills the “artist”/messenger as well. Presently, music and art seem to mainly function on the level of commerce and artists only longing for social recognition to further their financial gain and security, not living their message (truth) anymore, we could conclude that presently, hardly any form of art exists.
To finish up on the chart – the movie clearly has had its success and received its deserved recognition. Its success could have been foretold four years ago, as most the planets of the seventh house fall into the tenth house and with that it was almost a given that the movie was a success and reached well beyond the Argentinian borders. Clearly, the movie delivers the time content of its premiere day. Cancer (from 8. to 7.) with its Moon in the first house just gives it a nice “finishing touch” with the already mentioned Moon-Saturn – the denied or blocked access to origin and/or home – “You can not go home again”.
Thanks to the directors Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn for bringing some cinematographic light into the seemingly omnipresent darkness of the Hollywood dominated movie world.
Copyright 2021 Dirk Heinicke all rights reserved