BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Oscar-nominated actor Viggo Mortensen is joining a protest by Argentine actors against the government's decision to fire the head of the country's film institute.
In a video posted online, Mortensen also calls center-right President Mauricio Macri a "neoliberal braggard" who seeks to plunder the financial resources of Argentina's thriving film industry. The Danish-American actor lived until age 11 in Argentina, where he learned Spanish and became a fan of the San Lorenzo soccer club.
"Argentina's film pays for itself and is a source of pride for all Argentines," Mortensen said in fluent Spanish in the video, wearing a San Lorenzo T-shirt. "The state support to the film industry in counties like Argentina and France are unique and successful examples of the cultural promotion and are admired worldwide."
A group of actors and members of Argentina's film chamber say the recent firing of INCAA Film Institute President Alejandro Cacetta was part of a plan by Macri to intervene and defund the industry. Argentina's culture minister says Cacetta failed to act against film industry officials who were suspected of corruption during the administration of Macri's left-leaning predecessor, Cristina Fernandez.
Macri's government says there are no plans to cut back funding for Argentina's film industry, which is self-financed through taxes on ticket sales and other costs that are charged to private companies and TV channels.
Mortensen, best known as Aragorn in "The Lord of the Rings" films, returns often to Argentina, where he shot the film "Todos Tenemos un Plan ("Everybody Has a Plan")'' in 2010. He has had roles in dozens of movies, including "Eastern Promises" and "Captain Fantastic," which earned him Oscar nominations for best actor.