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Argentina Books, Movies, Music

Half the fun of going abroad the preparation: planning your trip and learning more about your destination. Here are some resources to get you psyched and savvy about Argentina.

Argentina Books

  • Jonathan Brown, A Brief History of Argentina. The most concise and readable history of Argentina in English.
  • Ernesto "Che" Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries. Che and Alberto leave Argentina on page 35, but this rollicking travel story—by perhaps the most well known Argentine—will stir up wanderlust in even the most dedicated couch potato.
  • Miranda France, Bad Times In Buenos Aires. Hilarious, if overly cynical account of the author's impressions of Buenos Aires during her one year stay there in the 90s. Over the top and bursting with sarcasm, the book isn't for everyone, but many will appreciate its sometimes brilliant insights into the porteño psyche.
  • Paul Blustein, And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out): Wall Street, the IMF, and the Bankrupting of Argentina. A must read for anyone interested in the recent Argentine economic meltdown, or financial crises in general. Highly readable, especially for a book full of insights about international finance.

Argentina Movies

  • Luis Puenzo's The Official Story (La Historia Oficial). The first Argentine film to win a Hollywood Oscar, Puenzo's 1985 classic still sheds light on the complexities of the dirty war's aftermath.
  • David Attenborough's The Trials of Life: Hunting and Escaping. The classic nature film contains some amazing footage of killer whales crashing onto a beach at Península Valdés in hot pursuit of sea-lion pups.
  • Lucrecia Martel is one of Argentina's most acclaimed new directors. Check out La Cienaga (2001) and The Holy Girl (2004).

Music of Argentina

  • For tango, start with Carlos Gardel, the quintessential tango singer, and Astor Piazzolla, tango's greatest composer.
  • Mercedes Sosa helped lead the protest music movement in Argentina and Chile in the 1960s. Folk music heroine and gifted vocalist, she's still recording today.
  • Gato Barbieri, tenor sax man and Argentina's foremost jazz star, first gained notoriety when he composed and performed the soundtrack to 1972's Last Tango in Paris.
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