Movies, books, and songs to capture the essence of Buenos Aires and get you in the mood for travel

Movies

The Official Story (La Historia Official) (1985)
A happy Argentine couple adopts a child, only to suspect that the child was taken from a family who disappeared during the military dictatorship; an Argentine classic.

Nine Queens (Nueve Reinas) (2000)
Fast-paced caper movie directed by Fabián Bielinsky and starring popular Argentine actor Ricardo Darin as one of many likeable crooks staging scams all around Buenos Aires. Set throughout the city from the bustling downtown to ritzy, upper-crust neighborhoods.

Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
Walter Salles-directed film starring Gael García Bernal as a young and pre-revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara who sets off from Buenos Aires with a friend on a cross-continental motorbike journey.

Made in Argentina (1987)
After being exiled to New York, an Argentine family reunites at a family wedding in Buenos Aires.

Tango (1999)
Of all the contemporary tango movies, Clarin movie critic and entertainment editor Diego Lerer recommends this Carlos Saura-directed film about the quest of a middle-aged tanguero in Buenos Aires to make the ultimate movie about tango.

Happy Together (1997)
Art film director Wong Kar-Wai’s story of a gay Chinese couple’s struggles in Buenos Aires, with lots of local imagery and music.

Books

Collected Fictions, by Jorge Luis Borges and Andrew Hurley (1998)
A classic and acclaimed collection of works by Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina’s most famous author.

Santa Evita, by Tomás Eloy Martinez (1996)
Fictional account about the actual disappearance of the corpse of Evita Perón following her death in 1952. Written from the perspective of an investigative reporter.

Hopscotch (La Rayuela), by Julio Cortázar (1966)
Julio Cortázar’s masterpiece novel is the fragmented, non-linear tale of an Argentine living in Paris, Uruguay, and Buenos Aires.

The Motorcycle Diaries, by Ernesto “Che” Guevara (2004)
The diary of the socialist icon Che Guevara during his young travels in South America. Begins in 1951 when Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado set off from Buenos Aires on motorbike.

The Ministry of Special Cases, by Nathan Englander (2007)
Fictional tale of a Jewish Argentine during the country’s last military dictatorship and his family’s search for their “disappeared” son.

Music

Compilations:

Sus Mas Grandes Temas, Carlos Gardel
Carlos Gardel (1890-1935), known as “El Zorzal Criollo” or “the songbird of Buenos Aires,” recorded this essential collection of tango classics during a stay in the United States.

Rock Argentino, Various artists
This iTunes playlist offers 25 songs that give listeners a good taste of the national sound that has evolved over four decades in Argentina. Selections range from rockers Soda Stereo to folklorists Leon Gieco and Mercedes Sosa.

Ronroco, Gustavo Santaolalla
Two-time Oscar-winning Argentine composer and musician Gustavo Santaolalla released this collection of original songs in 1998. Highlights indigenous Argentine instruments while bringing jazz and rock influences to traditional Argentine music.

La Revancha del Tango, Gotan Project
Funky blend of tango and electronic music by a French trio paired with Argentine musicians.

Classic Songs

From tango to Argentine rock and “cumbia miseria,” Argentines have forged their own music tastes, distinctive to most other countries in Latin America:

  1. “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” by Madonna
  2. “Mi Buenos Aires Querido” by Carlos Gardel
  3. “De Música Ligera” by Stereo Soda
  4. “Miss Argentina” by Iggy Pop
  5. “Santa Maria (del Buen Ayre)” by Gotan Project
  6. “De Ushuaia a la Quiaca” by Gustavo Santaolalla
  7. “Rosa Rosa” by Sandro
  8. “Mentirosa” by Ráfaga
  9. “Gracias a La Vida” by Mercedes Sosa
  10. “Sólo Le Pido a Dios” by Leon Gieco
  11. “El Matador” by The Fabulous Cadillacs

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