Evita is the 1996 film adaptation of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical based on the life of Eva Perón. It was directed by Alan Parker and starred Madonna, Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Pryce. It was released on December 25, 1996 by Hollywood Pictures and Cinergi Pictures.
Evita traces the life of Eva Duarte (later Eva Duarte de Perón) (Madonna) from a child from the lower class to becoming the first lady and spiritual leader of Argentina. Early in the film, Eva is seen as a small girl attempting to attend her father's funeral in the town of Junin with her mother and siblings. But her father's wife and other family (who are middle class) ban Eva's family from entering and carry Eva out screaming after she runs in on her own.
At age 15, Eva decides to leave Junin to seek a better life and hitches a ride to Buenos Aires with a tango singer, Augustin Magaldi, with whom she's having an affair. She progresses through several relationships with increasingly influential men until her fateful meeting with Colonel Juan Perón (Jonathan Pryce) at a fundraiser. Perón's connection with Eva lends him a populist air since she is from the working class as is Peron himself. Eva has a radio show during Perón's rise and uses all her skills to promote Perón even when the controlling administration has him jailed to try and stunt his political momentum. The groundswelling of support Eva generates forces the government to release Perón and he finds the people enamored with him and Eva. Perón wins election to the presidency and Eva promises the new government will serve the "descamisados" (literally, "those without shirts", i.e. the working poor). Eva establishes a foundation and does distribute aid while the Perónists otherwise plunder the public treasury. Argentina is very class based and the military corps and social elites despise Eva's common roots and affinity for the poor. During a world tour Evita becomes ill and is rushed home. Towards the end of her life she understands she is terminally ill but rationalizes that her life was short because she shone like the "brightest fire" and helps Juan prepare to go on without her. The film ends with a large crowd surrounding the Casa Rosada in a candlelight vigil praying for her recovery when the light of her room goes out, signifying her death.
Filming began on February 1996 and it finished in May. On set, Madonna received vocal training to ensure she had the best possible voice.
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Following the success of the film, the government of Argentina released its own film biography of Peron, entitled "Eva Perón," to correct alleged distortions in the Lloyd Webber account.