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Series / Algo Habrán Hecho Por La Historia Argentina

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History is full of lies... and those are the guys who will set things right
"Algo habrán hecho por la Historia Argentina" ("They must have done something for the history of Argentina") is an Argentine documentary that explains the history of Argentina. It is presented by historian Felipe Pigna, who explains things, and entertainer Mario Pergolini, who acts as the Audience Surrogate. The narrating jumps between scenes of Pigna explaining things to Pergolini at the historical sites of the events being mentioned, and brief dramatizations of the events (sometimes with Pigna and Pergolini being in the middle of them as they unfold).
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The documentary, an adaptation of Pigna's books of the same name, has three seasons. The first one starts with the British invasions to the Río de la Plata (1806), up to the fall of Juan Manuel de Rosas during the Battle of Caseros (1852). The second season continues up to the suicide of Leandro N. Alem (1896). The third season continues up to the meeting of Juan Perón and Eva Perón (1944).

Tropes

  • All of Time at Once: Pigna and Pergolini jump back and forth between the past (when explaining past events during recreations) and the present (at the historical sites, museums, or other related locations) at will, and sometimes both are used at the same time for humorous effect. For example, Pigna explains the route taken by the British army that conquered Buenos Aires in 1806, and Pergolini points that it's similar to the route of bus 22. Suddenly, a lot of creole peoples are escaping, and British soldiers are firing at them. Pigna and Pergolini join the people who are escaping... and they all board the bus 22.
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  • Appropriated Appellation: The phrase "Algo habrán hecho" (They must have done something") was used during the National Reorganization Process dictatorship. One someone was abducted by the government forces (or was suddenly missing in unknown circumstances), most people replied in disdain with that phrase. Meaning, "they must have been secretly involved with Montoneros, ERP or one of these terrorist gangs, and the government found it out". There was a lot of backlash against the phrase and its mindset later on. The documentary shares it, and uses for the national heroes of Argentina instead.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Downplayed. Pigna and Pergolini appear in the middle of several historical events, but only to witness and explain it.
  • Dan Browned
    • There is an acted scene of viceroy Sobremonte escaping from Buenos Aires to Cordoba with the national treasure, after the British invasion. The British cavalry got to him, forced him to stop, and captured the treasure. Although the real Sobremonte escaped with it and it was seized, there was not a persecution as those seen in films: they captured him during his brief stop at the City of Lujan.
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    • Fernando VII, the king of Spain, is in prison. There is an acted scene of the consequence in Buenos Aires: a demonstration outside the private house of viceroy Cisneros demanding an "Open Cabildo"note , Cisneros refuses, and Saavedra forcing him at gunpoint to do it. Although Saavedra did force Cisneros to call the Open Cabildo, it was in close quarters and just talking (he did use the strength of the military under his command to force his point, but he never actually threatened to kill him). The scene as seen is nowhere near any of the actual events; and in fact, the real Saavedra would have been shot down by treason if he tried such a stunt.
    • The first text points that, by 1806, the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata had existed for 30 years and seemed to be strong. But this was hardly the case. The viceroyalty was created in Spain, uniting several regions that belonged to other administrative divisions before then. 30 years is too little time to forge a national unity, and the viceroyalty was no exception. Once the Spanish authorities ceased to be in charge, the civil wars and the balkanization process started immediately and lasted almost a century.
    • When Buenos Aires was invaded by the British army, viceroy Sobremonte secured all the wealth of the city and escaped to Cordoba with it. Pergolini said he was a thief. Pigna confirms it and adds that he was a coward. But, although the soldiers did think that the viceroy deserted them (leading to later events), the truth that a historian should mention is that the regulations of the time specifically instructed him to do this in case of a foreign invasion. And he was not stealing them for personal profit: he was making a Tactical Withdrawal to the nearest city where the funds could be protected and the counter-attack organized.
  • Documentary of Lies: This documentary claims that history as we know it was "Written by the Winners", and that it will reveal the true history. But for actual historians, there's nothing new under the sun here. Felipe Pigna follows the discredited doctrine of Argentine revisionist historynote , that posits that there is a Forever War between "the people" and those against the people (foreign powers, their local agents, the oligarchy), and that every event in history can be explained under this light. Of course, as history has more than just two sides and one motivation, this means that all the info that contradicts that idea (side A doing bad things, side B doing good things, people on opposing sides working together and people on the same side fighting against each other) has to be either downplayed or completely silenced.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The documentary starts by saying that "History is full of lies".
  • La Résistance: The intro points that Argentina is a Wretched Hive, but also that there has always been a resistance against the evil governors.
  • Manipulative Editing: Pigna reads a letter that the Supreme Director Carlos María de Alvear sent to the United Kingdom, proposing to turn the country into a British colony. A surprised Pergolini asks what should be done with a traitor like Alvear, and Pigna points several things named after him (avenues, hotels, etc). This scene, however, completely skips the context in which Alvear made that proposal,note  and suggests that those locations are named after Alvear because of this proposal, as he does not mention his historical featsnote .
  • National Anthem: The intro (see here) provides some narration and images of historical events and people, with the background sound of the national athem of Argentina.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: Pigna points that, when the British invaded Buenos Aires, they forced all local politicians to swore loyalty to the United Kingdom. All except Belgrano, who escaped from the city specifically to avoid doing this. Pergolini points that someone else did not swore loyalty: viceroy Sobremonte, who also escaped.
  • This Is a Work of Fiction: Defied. The text in the beginning says "The events and characters of this program are based on reality. Any similarity is intentional".
  • The Watson: Mario Pergolini asks the questions that the audience would ask, and jumps to say a piece when Pigna, Mr. Exposition, is about to mention a topic that is Common Knowledge.
  • Wretched Hive: The intro describes Argentina as such. It has eight times the size of France, but half of its population. Most presidents have been imposed by dictatorships or electoral frauds. In less than 200 years it waged two wars against neighbors and two others against world powers. Their highest national heroes die impoverished or in exile, and its dictators name important streets of the capital city. Each new kid that is born owes 4,000 dollars to people he does not even know.
  • Written by the Winners: One of the usual statements is that history has been written by the winners, and Pigna intends to explain the "real" history.
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