Representing the third generation of her family to work in the theater, versatile talent Norma Aleandro began acting with her parents as a child and matured into one of Argentina's most distinguished...
It’s Passover in Barcelona and newly engaged lovers Rafi (Guillermo Toledo) a Palestinian professor and Leni (Mariana Aguilera) a Jewish actress apprehensively arrive at her parents’ home after a grueling time in airport customs. Within minutes of stepping into the chaotic apartment of her eccentric Jewish family--of course they believe Rafi to be Israeli--we are instantly thrown into Guess Who's Coming to Dinner with Romeo and Juliet Focker. The characters move and scramble about as we meet Leni’s redheaded Yamaka-wearing younger brother David (Fernando Ramallo) busy imposing his strong religious beliefs on his liberal family--taping light switches lighting candles and hiding cell phones in an attempt to recognize The Sabbath. Then there's Leni's endearing yet provocative older sister Tania (Maria Botto) who has a penchant for sleeping with strangers and belly dancing. Rafi can barely catch his breath when mom Gloria (Norma Aleandro) finds out he’s not Jewish. The tail spin has begun and through a series of witty dialogue rich in political overtones as well as Woody Allen-esque slapstick we stand in disbelief as one of the worlds most dysfunctional families attempt to find harmony amidst utter chaos. As the wiry curly-haired University level Arabic literature teacher Toledo succeeds in turning Rafi into a one-man-show á la Italian funnyman Roberto Benigni and is a pleasure to watch as he’s dumped into one unfortunate mishap after another. And although his fiancée in the film is well played by Aguilera it is Botto’s sexiness and charm--not to mention absolutely delightful dance scene with Rafi--that adds much needed flare to the ensemble cast. And as the blind slightly deaf and questionably senile war veteran Grandpa Dudu Max Berliner brilliantly transforms himself into a delightful male version of Ruth Gordon wandering about the home aimlessly delivering laugh after laugh. Oscar-nominated Aleandro (Gaby) rules her family with boundless neuroses and it is as if she walks through walls to some how always be in the right place at the wrong time to interject her opinions into just about every scene. The impudent niece wannabe fundamentalist brother as well as a colorful group of characters we meet along the way one-liners and well-timed comedic scenes could quite possibly turn this little dish into a major course. Husband and wife filmmaking team Teresa De Pelegri and Dominic Harari successfully accomplish what they set out to--creating a smart witty and hilarious film about two polar opposite backgrounds and bringing it together in a taut politically viable and eloquent way. At no point are we asked to choose a side in the film only to sit back relax and listen as the characters play out a delicate situation in an organic comedy-first way. Only Human eventually strips away any impressions we may have had by blurring the lines so much we can’t help but find similarities in their backgrounds. In 85 minutes we are given just enough to fulfill our appetites for these characters--and even if it feels at times like the story is trying a bit too hard exhausting certain points a simple act of vaudevillian comedy refreshes everything for us. This film is a fun ride filled with everything from sexiness physical comedy and toilet humor moments what would do a Farrelly brother proud.
Co-starred as a soap star in Eduardo Mignogna's "Cleopatra"
Played the mother in Juan José Campanella's "El Hijo de la novia/Son of the Bride"
Last Argentine film for more than a decade, "La Tregua/The Truce"
Made stage debut at the age of 12 (date approximate)
Appeared in the made-for-cable movie "One Man's War", airing on "HBO Showcase"
Early film credit, "La Muerte en las Calles"
Acted on stage in NYC in the one-woman show "Sobre el amor y otras cuentos/About Love and Other Stories About Love", adapted from the writings of well-known South American writers
Because of her outspokenness and liberal views, forced to leave Argentina amid death threats; lived briefly in Uruguay before entering into self-imposed exile in Spain
Starred opposite Lee Remick in the NBC movie "Dark Holiday"
Offered an outstanding turn as a middle-aged Jewish woman who places an ad in the lonely hearts column of a Buenos Aires newspaper in "La Seconda Volta/Autumn Sun/Sol de Otono"
Acted in Jorge Darnell's "Gente conmigo/A Nation with Me"
Last US feature (to date), "Vital Signs"
Starred in Buenos Aires stage production of Terrence McNally's "Master Class"
Portrayed Isabella Rossellini's colorful mother who marries Lloyd Bridges in "Cousins"
Cast as the mother of a future filmmaker in Hector Babenco's semi-autobiographical "Corazon iluminado/Foolish Heart"
Offered an exceptional performance as an upper-middle-class Argentine shielded from the harsh realities of her country until she takes the step that will shatter her naivete in the Oscar-winning Best Foreign Film "La Historia Oficial/The Official Story"
Appeared in Alejandro Agresti's "Una Noche con Sabrina Love/A Night with Sabrina Love"
Wrote and starred in "Los Herederos"
Starred in the comedic ensemble "Seres queridos/Only Human" co-written and co-directed by Dominic Harari and Teresa Pelegri
Starred in Nicolás Gil Saavedra's short, "Identidad perdida"
US film acting debut in "Gaby--A True Story"; received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination as the caretaker of a woman with cerebral palsy
Representing the third generation of her family to work in the theater, versatile talent Norma Aleandro began acting with her parents as a child and matured into one of Argentina's most distinguished thespians. A playwright and director as well as a performer, she fled her homeland for fear of persecution at the hands of its military junta, spending many years in exile first in Uruguay and later Spain before her 1983 return. The dark-haired actress with a slightly pinched face and expressively limpid brown eyes gained international recognition for her superb portrait of a typical middle-class Argentine woman who discovers her life is a lie in the politically-themed "La Historia Oficial/The Official Story" (1985). Aleandro crafted a heartbreaking portrayal of a average wife who comes to suspect that her beloved adopted daughter is the child of a political prisoner. In a role specifically tailored for her, she triumphed both personally and artistically, earning Best Actress honors at Cannes and from the New York Film Critics Circle. Set in 1983 as the junta was disintegrating, "The Official Story" was the first film to examine the fallen regime's responsibility for disappearances, tortures, murders and stolen babies, making a political statement in the midst of a crackling good story that deservedly snared the Academy Award as Best Foreign Film, although the expected nomination for Aleandro's gut-wrenching work failed to materialize.<p> Aleandro's one-woman show, "Sobre el Amor y Otras Cuentos", adapted from the writings of well-known Spanish and Latin American writers, toured South America before landing in New York in 1985, garnering her an OBIE Award. She then enjoyed a brief screen career in the USA, highlighted by her Oscar-nominated supporting turn as a woman devoted to helping a younger female cope with cerebral palsy in Luis Mandoki's "Gaby--A True Story" (1987), not to mention her colorful portrayal of Isabella Rossellini's mother in "Cousins" (1989), an Americanization of the French film "Cousin, Cousine" (1975). Her outstanding performance as Clara Goldstein in "La Seconda Volta/Autumn Sun" (1996) displayed a mature ardor as she essayed a lonely woman seeking a mate through personal advertisements and won her a Best Actress Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival. After tackling the tour de force stage role of Maria Callas in the Buenos Aires production of Terrence McNally's "Master Class" (1996), Aleandro offered a fine supporting turn as the mother of a future filmmaker in Hector Babenco's semi-autobiographical "Corazon iluminado/Foolish Heart" (1998).