Most of the films released in Argentina in 1980 are "light" or downright frivolous. Some notable exceptions are: _Tiro al aire_ (Mario Sabato), _Desde el abismo_ (Fernando Ayala), _Los miedos_ (Alejandro Doria), _El infierno tan temido_ (Raúl de la Torre), and _Queridas amigas_.
Far away from her native Buenos Aires, in the Province of Catamarca, Isabel (Dora Baret) is sitting at a table, looking at old photographs that inevitably plunge her back into the past. Her treasured memories are of the friendship she shared with two other young women, Esther (Luisina Brando) and Mary (Graciela Dufau). She begins to write a letter, "Queridas amigas..." Esther is now a middle-class masseuse, with a husband (Rodolfo Ranni, who also played Luisina Brando's husband in María Luisa Bemberg's _Señora de nadie_) and two kids. Mary married a wealthy man, and her environment is the shallow world of decorative arts and antiques. Isabel's letter reconnects the three friends, now mature women who know about life's joys and sorrows.
_Queridas amigas_ explores those friendships of childhood and/or adolescence that seem built to last, yet dissolve little by little once life becomes more complicated. Rarely, these friendships are rekindled. Another key theme is a woman's need for fulfillment and independence, both within and outside of marriage. Finally, the film also comments briefly on the capital/province dichotomy.
Dedicated to Leopoldo Torre Nilsson, who passed away in 1978, _Queridas amigas_ is touching and nostalgic, very well acted (by all three of the leading ladies) and very well shot. The ending may be a bit too much, but I chose to take it for its symbolic value.
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