Blessed by Fire
Blessed By Fire (Iluminados por el fuego) is the story of two young men who were sent to fight the 1982 war in the Falkland Islands (or as they are known in Argentina, Las Malvinas) and who return home bearing the brutal scars of war. Twenty years after the war’s end, journalist Esteban Leguizamón (Gastón Pauls) is informed that Alberto Vargas (Pablo Ribba), one of the men he served with, has attempted suicide after suffering from years of depression brought on by his experiences in the war.
Esteban visits the comatose Vargas at the hospital, and in a series of extended flashbacks, revisits the scene of Argentina’s “unwinnable war.” The film depicts Esteban and fellow soldiers Vargas (Pablo Ribba, the man in the coma) and Juan “Corrientes” Chamorro (Cesar Albarracin), who are living in foxholes on the remote, windswept Falklands, battling hunger, boredom, abuse, and the deprivations of war as they await the arrival of British forces. A series of harrowing battle scenes with British forces ensues, and the Argentines realise the futility and violence of their mission.
They are cannon fodder, pawns in a futile political game. Back in the present, Esteban returns to the Falklands to come to terms with himself and the past. The emotional final scenes were shot on location in the Falklands, for the first time in Argentine film. As Esteban looks over the still off-limits battlefields filled with mines, live ammunition, and rusting military equipment, the futility of war is abundantly clear.