Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Hugo del Carril|
|Produced by||Hugo del Carril|
|Screenplay by||Eduardo Borrás|
|Based on||El río oscuro by Alfredo Varela|
|Starring||Hugo del Carril|
Raúl del Valle
|Music by||Tito Ribero|
|Cinematography||José María Beltrán|
|Edited by||Gerardo Rinaldi|
|Distributed by||Cinematográfica Cinco|
|9 October 1952|
Dark River (Spanish: Las aguas bajan turbias) is a 1952 Argentine drama film directed by Hugo del Carril, starring del Carril, Adriana Benetti and Raúl del Valle. It is based on a novel by Alfredo Varela. The storyline is about exploitation of peons, and the film has a populist message that ties in with the director's sympathy for Peronism. The film won the Silver Condor Award for Best Film.
The brothers Santos and Rufino Peralta are used like animals in the workplace at the Parana Stop. There they encounter enormous hardship and inhuman conditions of work as a consequence of the immense greed of the managers. A worker's rebellion is maturing, to the point that it is developed into trade union of workers who respond against their grief. Finally, the workers plot a counterattack and punish their corrupt employers.
The film is based on a novel by Alfredo Varela, but Varela is not mentioned in the credits because he was in prison as a consequence of his communist activities. The film was shot on location in the upper Paraná region.
The film premiered on 9 October 1952 in Buenos Aires and on 25 February 1956 in the United States. It was distributed by Cinematográfica Cinco and Del Carril-Barbieri (DCB) in Argentina and the Times Film Corporation in the United States. Argentina released the film again in 2005 at the Mar del Plata Film Festival on 11 March 2005.
A. H. Weiler of The New York Times wrote that the film "makes its points realistically and, occasionally, with harrowing effects" but "is somewhat less than striking as professionally-wrought drama". "As a tract against man's inhumanity to man," Weiler wrote, "it is sincere and powerful. But the spinning of this somber tale, like its outrages, is routine and more primitive than polished." The critic wrote about the performances: "Although Señor Del Carril has not extracted outstanding performances from some of his principals, his portrayal is restrained yet forceful. And, while the climactic scene is rudimentary melodrama, some of his supporting players contribute seemingly dedicated characterizations."
The film received the awards for Best Picture, Director and Supporting Actor (Pedro Laxalt) from the Argentine Academy of Cinematography Arts and Sciences. It received four awards, including Best Film and Best Director, from the Argentine Film Critics Association in 1953. It also won a Special Mention at the Venice Film Festival.