“The Seven Madmen” draws on two novels by Roberto Arlt to show us the opulent and seedy words of Buenos Aires in the 1920s. Erdosain (Alfredo Alcon) is a failed inventor who allows himself be pressured into giving up his dreams, marrying a woman he doesn’t know, and taking up a job as a bill collector that he grows to hate. A weak man, Erdosain can’t no to anyone, including an astrologer who enlists him as one of seven members in a secret anarchist society that sets out to destroy the Plaza de Mayo, Argentina’s religious, commercial and government center.
Much of the movie takes place in the working class rooming houses, brothels and tango bars of the period’s and it also shows us the era’s political and criminal underworlds. Although this a well produced picture with good costumes and sets, there is nothing glamorous about the places shown or the people who frequent them. Erdosain’s rented rooms are as sad and depressing as the life he leads that results in his embrace of violent anarchism.
Look for good supporting performances by Norma Aleandro and Hector Alterio, two of Argentina’s most famous actors. Highly recommended.