In 1965, a man named Matías is admitted to a psychiatric clinic after being found on the street “in the company of homosexuals and intoxicated by alcohol and drugs.” His papers indicate that he is 41 years old and Polish. He claims that his mother was an aristocrat. His arrival will shake up the institution and, in particular, the life of one of its doctors.
This is an adaptation of one of the most important novels of Argentine literary modernism, Roberto Arlt’s El juguete rabioso (1926). Similar in many ways to Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1917), this novel (and the film) chronicles a young man’s journey through a life of poverty on the margins of society in Buenos Aires among anarchists and gangsters during the first years of the 20th century. The novel is essential reading for an understanding of subsequent Argentine literature, yet it is little known outside of Argentina. In El beso de la mujer araña AKA Kiss of the Spider Woman (1976), Manuel Puig was very consciously drawing the whole conceit of the homosexual ‘traitor’/’lover’ and the political prisoner directly from this book.
Childhood friends Bruno and Lalo are inseparable, until Lisa enters their lives. Beautiful and free-spirited, she quickly turns both their heads, igniting a passionate but heartbreaking love triangle – before suddenly leaving town without a word. Lisa resurfaces much later; Bruno is married and Lalo divorced, and none have them have been able to completely shake their memories of that summer 30 years ago. When Lisa reunites the group, those old feelings are stirred – and relived. Continue reading
A handful of children are left to their own devices in this subtle drama from Argentine filmmaker Celina Murga. Maria (Magdalena Capobianco) is a girl in her early teens whose family lives in an upscale gated suburb. Maria’s parents are going out of town for a week, and rather than leave her with relatives or hire a babysitter, Maria is put in charge of looking after her little sister Sofia (Eleonora Capobianco), with housekeeper Esther (Natalia Gomez Alarcon) serving as a nominal adult authority figure, though for the most part she lets Maria and the others do what they please. With only their parents bedroom off-limits, Maria and Sofia have the run of the house, and soon they and their friends Facundo (Lucas Del Bo), Quique (Federico Pena), Rodrigo (Ramiro Saludas) and Timmy (Mateo Braun) are spending their days exploring the place. As the kids begin creating their own rules to run counter to the ones their absent parents set down, Esther brings a young relative, Fernando (Gaston Luparo), to play with them, and the privileged kids begin to get a notion of the ways of the outside world. Una Semana Solos (aka A Week Alone) was an official selection at the 2008 Buenos Aires Film Festival. Continue reading
Eduardo is an obsessive, efficient worker in the oil industry, disconnected from any type of emotion. He seems to have enclosed his history in one of the rooms of the house in which he lives in Rio Grande. His lonely routine is altered when he is called to go to Ushuaia for a few days. Getting there and meeting an old friend and his family becomes a real test in his life and opens a door that allows him to rebuild his past, his present and, perhaps, his future. Continue reading
Esteban (Darío Grandinetti) and Molly (Cecilia Roth) have been married for over twenty years. On a cold morning in June the couple realizes they have hit rock bottom and that their relationship is not what it once was. With the city of Buenos Aires as their background, the middle aged couple will separate and go their own ways to look for what has now gone missing or to find what was keeping their relationship alive for all this time. Marriage examines the different aspects that make a man and a woman click, those moments where a bond can become harder than a rock, but it will also illustrate the downfalls and all the little things that make a relationship worth fighting for. Continue reading
In a small town of Entre Ríos, a German family is preparing to leave their farm, for reasons that will only be revealed much later. On the last day, the two teenage brothers, Brenda and Lucas, say goodbye to their friends while their mother closes up the house. But that sent-off is far from exposing what affects the characters’ lives and drama in words and events. Going back to the setting and tone of his short film Invernario, Maximiliano Schonfeld eludes the cliché of describing local habits and tales us to a rough world that always show more than what it actually features. The end of adolescence, sexual desire, a cracked notion of family, and class relations are some of the issues the film unfolds without raising its voice or telling us what to think or feel. A major contribution to this opaque realism with an opalescent light is the truth expressed by its non-professional actors, especially Brenda Krütli’s shaded beauty and Lucas Schell’s eyes and rustic gestures.