HomeFamily History + ArtThe Puccio Family’s Skeletons in the Closet

What is unusual about this family tree (see below)? It shows an unusual family! Time for dinner: Patriarch Arquímedes Puccio asks his wife to fill a plate with chicken, he goes upstairs, calls his daughters to come down, opens a door. A man in a bathtub, hooded and chained. “Don’t panic”, Puccio says, “I am just serving dinner”.
Kidnappings, ransom demands and murders were part of the Puccio’s everyday life in Buenos Aires between 1983 and 1985. Planned and executed with no sign of emotions by the father, supported by his older sons, tolerated or whatever by wife and daughters. The tradition to make people disappear from the times of military dictatorship continues.
Pablo Trapero has turned this very true – and well known in Argentina – story into the thrilling and nightmarish movie “El Clan”, which I have seen in the cinema last week. The oldest son Alejandro feels qualms after having fallen in love with Mónica, but brother Daniel steps in willingly. The dark business gets uncovered after a series of mishaps – but mainly because a certain “Commodore” cannot back them any longer somewhere in the higher ranks of the police.
Arquímedes has never confessed his deeds, he was paroled in 2008 and worked as a lawyer until his death in 2013. Alejandro died in prison of remote damages of a former suicide attempt. The women were never accused in spite of their likely cognizance. Epifania and her youngest daughter Adriana still own the house in the bourgeois suburb of Buenos Aires, in which everything happened.
Apart from the skeletons in the closet, this great movie by Pablo Trapero is also about communication within families, about silence, connivance, keeping the curtain closed, respect, loyalty (also wrong loyalty), renunciation – in short: about many general aspects about family structures and family dynamics.
Descendants of Arqu’medes Rafael Puccio


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