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.
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).
Cast (Feature Film)
Made stage debut at the age of 12 (date approximate)
Early film credit, "La Muerte en las Calles"
Acted in Jorge Darnell's "Gente conmigo/A Nation with Me"
Wrote and starred in "Los Herederos"
Last Argentine film for more than a decade, "La Tregua/The Truce"
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
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
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"
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
Portrayed Isabella Rossellini's colorful mother who marries Lloyd Bridges in "Cousins"
Starred opposite Lee Remick in the NBC movie "Dark Holiday"
Last US feature (to date), "Vital Signs"
Appeared in the made-for-cable movie "One Man's War", airing on "HBO Showcase"
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"
Starred in Buenos Aires stage production of Terrence McNally's "Master Class"
Cast as the mother of a future filmmaker in Hector Babenco's semi-autobiographical "Corazon iluminado/Foolish Heart"
Appeared in Alejandro Agresti's "Una Noche con Sabrina Love/A Night with Sabrina Love"
Played the mother in Juan José Campanella's "El Hijo de la novia/Son of the Bride"
Co-starred as a soap star in Eduardo Mignogna's "Cleopatra"
Starred in Nicolás Gil Saavedra's short, "Identidad perdida"
Starred in the comedic ensemble "Seres queridos/Only Human" co-written and co-directed by Dominic Harari and Teresa Pelegri