Santa Evita is a Brilliant Pseudo-Historical Mini-Series

Alice Oscura, Featured Writer

Plot: The story follows the unusual events that take place after The First Lady of Argentina Eva “Evita” Peron’s death in 1952.

Review: Santa Evita is a limited series that was released on the 70th Anniversary of Eva Peron’s death on the 26th of July on STARZ. The series is based on a book of the same name written in 1995 by Argentinian journalist and author Tomás Eloy Martínez. Martinez’s fictitious story follows the bizarre journey of Eva Peron’s corpse after it had been embalmed. The inspiration for his story comes from the disappearance of her body after her husband Juan Peron was overthrown in 1955 via a military coup. The body’s eventual location became a mystery for 16 years until it was rediscovered in a crypt in Milan, Italy in 1971 and returned to her husband. He was residing in Spain at the time still in exile from Argentina. Upon publication of Martinez’s book, many rumours began to circulate surrounding the allegations that Peron’s embalmed corpse may have been the victim of sentimental necrophilia to explain the damage that was sustained during the period of disappearance. It also raised the theory that many wax copies existed, which may have also fallen victim to a military officer’s sexual fantasies.

The events in Santa Evita depict Eva Peron as a figure of great power in Argentina, as she very well was in real life. As the country’s First Lady and wife of the infamous Juan Peron, she became both a revolutionary and symbol of female sexuality and motherhood during the 1940s and 1950s. Peron was the saviour for millions of Argentines, and as a woman she stood up to the dictatorial machismo regime by fighting for social justice and equality for women. While she was beloved by the lower working class, Eva was greatly disliked by the upper- and middle-class society. Some saw her rise to fame and power as a threat since she came from extremely humble beginnings as the illegitimate daughter of Juan Duarte.

It was widely believed that the only way that Peron was able to rise so quickly from mediocrity was due to her sexually exploiting herself to climb the social ladder. This is the hypothesis that becomes the core of the Santa Evita story where it is depicted that Peron’s embalmed body becomes a dangerous obsession for two of the main characters in the series. Through a sequence of timeline jumps via flashbacks and the use of real documentary-format archive images the audience is also able to investigate along with the character of the reporter Mariano Vazquez (Diego Velázquez). Vazquez is an Argentinian journalist in 1971. His editor-in-chief gets word that the government may be planning on returning the body of Eva Peron to her husband, Juan Peron, who currently resides in Spain. The problem is that everyone knows that her body had been missing for many years. Vazquez now embarks on what proves to be a dangerous journey into uncovering the conspiracy behind the true location of Peron’s body.

Uruguayan actress Natalia Oreiro is perfectly cast in the role of Evita Peron. Her strong performance gives the audience a well-blended sense of commanding feminine power and vulnerability to Peron’s onscreen appearance, especially in the later episodes when the reality of impending death began to resonate with her. Supporting cast members actors Ernesto Alterio as Colonel Carlos Moori-Koenig and Diego Cremonesi as Koenig’s assistant Arancibia both give fantastic performances of the military officers who become dangerously obsessed with Peron’s embalmed corpse which ultimately costs them their careers, families, and lives. Due to anti-Peronism after the 1955 military coup, Peron’s body was ordered to be removed from public display in the CGT building. The result is the prevention of the burial of Peron’s body for almost 20 years as it became a political pawn between transitional governments.

The gothic, creepy atmosphere created by the officers’ disturbing obsession with Peron’s corpse lends to the enigma of the Evita mythos. That everywhere the unburied corpse went suffering, misfortune, and death would follow. It was also apparent that with the rise of Anti-Peronism, there was an obvious lack of respect for her body as those who disliked her in life sought to remove the idea of her from the populace for fear of martyrdom, lending to the name that inspired Martinez’s book, Santa Evita.

In conclusion, Santa Evita is a brilliant series that pays tribute to a classic piece of Argentine literature and one of history’s most powerful and influential, feminist political figures in Latin America. The hauntingly mysterious plot supported by powerful, award-worthy performances is enough to captivate audiences internationally.

Score: 7 out of 10

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Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. Read More