The Clan set box-office records in Argentina. It is based on the lives of the Puccio family, who engaged in kidnapping for ransom and murder during the early 1980s. What gripped the Argentinean public back then, and again thirty years later, was that the Puccios were, on the surface, a respectable family who lived in a wealthy neighborhood.
During the period of Argentina’s brutal military dictatorship, the father, Arquimedes, belonged to the army’s Intelligence Battalion 601, which was notorious for kidnapping and killing political dissidents. This period of Argentina’s “Dirty War,” has twice been the subject of films that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film: The Official Story in 1986 and The Secret in Their Eyes in 2010.
When democracy returned to Argentina in 1983, Arquimedes Puccio found himself without a secure job. But, hey, he had a skill—kidnapping and murdering people—so why not put it to good use to support his family during a time of economic uncertainty?
The Clan is told from the point of the Puccios, particularly Arquimedes and his eldest son, Alejandro, who was a star of Argentina’s national rugby team. They began by kidnapping Ricardo Manoukian, a wealthy young man who was a teammate of Alejandro’s. Manoukian’s family paid a hefty ransom, but Arquimedes had him shot to death anyway and dumped his body in a river. The Puccios pulled off three more kidnappings for ransom before they were caught.
Guillermo Francells, who played the drunken assistant in The Secret in Their Eyes, gives a chilling, award-worthy performance as Arquimedes Puccio.