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Re: Journal: ARGENTINA

Postby trevor826 » Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:14 pm

Historias Mnimas (2002) - Minimal Stories aka Intimate Stories

Directed by Carlos Sorin

A film that gives you exactly what it says, minimal stories, each set around journeys, each small but wonderfully humanistic tale leading to slight changes in the lives of the central characters.

Maria, a young mother who lives in the sparsely populated town of Fitz Roy has to travel to San Julian to take part in a low budget T.V. quiz show. Justo, also from Fitz Roy is an old man who is treated like a child by his son and daughter in law, when he hears from a friendly lorry driver that his long lost dog Badface has been spotted in San Julian he decides to make his way there. Last but not least, Roberto is a salesman; hes been travelling the long roads and vast open plains of Patagonia for twenty years, every day is a journey for him but this day is special.

Justo sneaks away from his home and family like a thief in the night, he knows his son will never let him go so this is his only option. Badface is his life and for reasons revealed later in the film, he feels the need to seek forgiveness from his dog.

Roberto has had a birthday cake made for the son of a young widow; he has feelings for her and obviously sees this as an opportunity to spend some time with her. Although impressed with the cake it isnt quite as perfect as he would like, this leads to a series of trials and tribulations until he is at last satisfied with the end result.

Marias trip is the easiest, we dont share the journey but meet up with her at the garish Multicoloured Casino, the T.V. quiz she will appear on.

Connections and crossings are made between the characters throughout the film whether directly or indirectly, for instance Roberto picks up Justo in a caf and gives him a lift to San Julian, or while staying in a depot overnight, Justo switches the telly on as Multicoloured Casino starts with Maria as a contestant.

There are several other little things that tie the stories together as well, one of them is turtles but to explain further would necessitate adding spoilers. The characters may also be connected in a roundabout way, certainly Justo and Roberto but this is left vague and open to interpretation, it would certainly make the overall story more fate driven.

The vast wild desolate windswept plains of Patagonia and the beautiful skylines are integral to the journeys, especially for Justo who starts his 300 km journey on foot, you get the impression that this is one of the few areas of the world where you could still get truly close to nature.

Historias Minimas is a delightful film, no action, no violence, only a hint of romance and one of the scariest nurses Ive ever seen (and Ive seen quite a few in my time), it gets a big thumbs up from me. If you give it a chance, Im sure youll also appreciate and enjoy it.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 15?

R2 dvd available from Optimum Releasing. R1 dvd available soon from New Yorker Films.

Re: Journal: ARGENTINA

Postby hengcs » Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:14 am

Import or Confront?
By Lorena Cancela

Re: Journal: ARGENTINA

Postby A » Fri Jul 21, 2006 6:16 pm

Interesting article.
Seems like the same problem in all "minor" film countries. In Germany (or Slovenia) you also discuss basically foreign theories and place yourself in a position.

In the end, the main thing is to think about the relationship that we establish with different theories and concepts. In order to, as Godard said, illuminate cinema.

Yeah, I guess that's the main thing. Of course we shouldn't forget that a theory is always a theory and just a theory. There are millions of it, and none hold the exclusive truth. But they can help you with your own theory (or praxis ) of film/life.

To Argentina:
I'm still illiterate regarding the New Argentinian film movement (or the "old" one), so your reviews are a grwat help.

Re: Journal: ARGENTINA

Postby trevor826 » Thu Aug 24, 2006 10:02 pm

Sorry, didn't realise there were already comments for this, but hey what the heck! The more the better.

When is an Argentinian film not an Argentinian film?

When it's Lost Embrace (2003) Directed by Daniel Burman.

This is a Jewish film that just happens to be situated in Buenos Aires. Set in a shopping mall that looks as though it's on the verge of collapse and given an extremely closeted claustrophobic feel by the hand held camera work we follow the main protagonist (Ariel) as characters are introduced around the different shops and stalls.

Among the traders are an Italian family, a Korean couple and Jewish people who emigrated from European countries at the time of the Holocaust. Ariel works in his mothers shop, his father left for Israel when he was a baby and all he wants to do is to leave Argentina to spend time travelling around Europe where he feels life will have so much more to offer.

Dreams and aspirations aside, Ariel has a deeply held resentment for the father he's never seen. Everything he does know about him has been passed down by his mother, as the film progresses and Ariel seeks family documents to get his passport sorted out, the truth about his father slowly and surely seeps out.

It's only when his father suddenly reappears towards the end of the film that Ariel comes to realise how much of the truth has been hidden from him down the years but there is little if any anger shown towards his mother for all the lies. Everything slides to a happy end with the family reunited as far as that is possible, as to whether Ariel will follow his dreams of going to Europe, who knows?

I must say I didn't enjoy Lost Embrace, it isn't because there wasn't exactly much of a story or the performances. No, it was because it was non stop talk, talk, talk from start to end, it is meant to be a light comedy but it felt as though the whole Jewish angle was really overplayed where the cast ended up as stereotypes and caricatures rather than genuine characters.

If you thought that My Big Fat Greek Wedding was irritating then believe me, you are not going to enjoy this film. It was funny and bearable for around twenty minutes but by the time Ariels Grandmother bursts into song I was wishing I was anywhere except in the cinema. I don't think there was one Argentinian character in the whole film (though the porter may have been) and I found that slightly disturbing, come to think of it, there were hardly any customers either!

So I'm sorry, Lost Embrace did absolutely nothing for me except irritate me.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 15.

Film distributed by Axiom films in the UK.

Re: Journal: ARGENTINA

Postby trevor826 » Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:16 pm

Moved from its original thread.

El Perro (2004) Bombon El Perro

Directed by Carlos Sorin

Starring Juan Villegas, Gregorio

An offbeat and optimistic road movie which like Historias Minimas from the same director is set in the wide-open plains of Patagonia. Juan (or Coco to his friends) has been sacked from his job as a garage attendant/mechanic after 20 odd years when it is sold, he lives with his daughter, her children and her feeble husband desperately trying to help make ends meet.

After helping a stranded motorist, hes offered a pedigree Dogo in thanks and suddenly his life turns around! Thanks to some chance meetings, he gets together with a trainer and Bombon is entered and comes third in a dog show. Bombon is requested for studding duties but for some reason, hes not up to it so Coco leaves him with the trainer hoping he can sort out this little problem.

But Coca has become very attached to Bombon, he misses him so much that he goes to retrieve him only to find that Bombon has run away, the story then follows Cocos efforts to find him.

This is a very positive film, when we first meet Coco hes at his wits end and is pretty demoralised. Apart from trying to help his daughter hes also looking for work in an area that has very little to offer, especially for someone his age. Hope comes in the form of Bombon and surprising new options open up for Coco, the life that was drained flows back and despite his success with the dog show and the money to be made from studding, Coco remains down to earth and unassuming, just happier with life.

The performances are very natural, once again most of the cast aren't professioal actors. The wide and wild expanses of the Pategonian plains are shown in their full glory and the dog is a true performer. Bombon El Perro (as it has been marketed in the UK) is definitely worth at least a rental. If you enjoyed Historias Minimas I have no doubt at all that you will also enjoy this.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 15.

R2 Pal dvd available from Pathe, loaded with extras.

Re: Journal: ARGENTINA

Postby trevor826 » Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:25 pm

Moved from 'The Last Movie You've Seen' thread.

Valentn (Argentina - 2002)

Directed by Alejandro Agresti

Starring Carmen Maura, Julieta Cardinali, Rodrigo Noya

A bittersweet drama about familial life, love and conflict through the eyes of a precocious 8 year old in late 60s Buenos Aries.

Valentin lives with his somewhat lonely and bitter Grandmother, (an excellent performance from Carmen Maura) while his father carries on with his own life which appears to add up to nothing more than working and dating. His mother disappeared with another man when he was a tot and hes never seen her since (listening to Valentins father and Grandmother you could understand why anyone would want to run away).

Although he tries his best to be good, if Valentin says or does anything out of place, he gets an ear-bashing from his Grandmother who once started just rants on and on. He is a friendly child willing to help wherever possible and dreams of becoming an astronaut when he grows up, unfortunately (for him) hes also honest in a way that only a child can be, this honesty leads him into conflict with his father and at times with his Grandmother although he wouldnt intentionally hurt either.

The story is made up of a series of events that include his Grandmother becoming ill and his father finding yet another girlfriend, minor things but major aspects in the life of an 8 year old.

A short but delightful feature at 79 minutes, honest and enjoyable.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated PG.

R2 dvd released by Metrodome. The cover design must qualify as one of the blandest I've ever seen.

Extras include:

Interview with the Director Alejandro Agresti.
Cast and crew biographies.

Re: Journal: ARGENTINA

Postby trevor826 » Sat Aug 26, 2006 9:15 pm

Nine Queens (2000) Nueve Reinas

Directed by Fabin Bielinsky

Starring Gastn Pauls, Ricardo Darn, Leticia Brdice

Nine Queens is a taut well constructed crime drama that without the odd social comment could easily be from anywhere. The performances are good; the editing slick and the plot holds the viewers attention right to the end without the need for heavy violence, car chases, gunfights or explosions. Further than that it has a lot to say regarding the nature of people and how very easily any of us can be fooled.

A young small-time con artist (Juan) tries to pull the same scam twice in a shop, second time around he gets caught out. A police detective who is also in the shop takes control of the situation and leaves with the Juan in tow.

The detective had been watching Juan and once clear of the shop reveals that he too is a fake, another confidence trickster (Marcos) but a far more experienced one. He convinces Juan to become his partner though its a very temporary arrangement, they agree to give it just one day to see how they get on together.

It doesnt take long before Juan realises that Marcos has absolutely no scruples at all, he has second thoughts about the partnership but then a telephone call changes everything.

A con has been set up by another shyster but due to ill health he is unable to complete it, a scam to sell forged stamps (the Nine Queens of the title) to a multi-millionaire who has to leave Buenos Aires the next day. The prize is too big to be ignored for these small-time crooks and Marcos with Juan in tow takes control of the situation.

From then on the pair face increasing problems in their attempt to complete the scam of the century, one big problem is Marcoss sister who happens to work in the hotel where the deal must be completed. There is certainly no love lost between these siblings, she believes that Marcos has conned her and a younger brother out of their inheritance and threatens to contact the police each time she sees him near the hotel.

Twists and turns abound during the film, Juan doesnt trust Marcos, in fact nobody trusts Marcos (and for good reason) but they eventually manage to contact the intended victim and get the deal rolling. There are many more twists that carry right through to the end credits plus a few surprises along the way; the finale certainly gives you food for thought.

Certain aspects of life in Buenos Aires are highlighted, from the pretty high level of street crime to the children who make a living selling religious style cards on trains. This does bring up one wonderful moment, Juan is travelling by train when one of these boys goes around leaving a card with each passenger, if the passengers want the cards they put out a small amount of money for it, if not they just leave the card. Juan takes the card and leaves a $10 note on one knee and a toy car on his other, the boy hesitates but eventually opts for the money, Juan calls the boy back and gives him the car. The boy who had looked drained of life smiles, his face beaming, a simple gift but one that means a great deal to the boy.

There is also a serious crisis at a bank in the film and strangely this story was replicated in real life soon after with thousands of customers seeing their life savings dwindle to virtually nothing. Strange how life sometimes imitates art.

Recommended viewing, definitely worth a rental at least.

Cheers Trev

BBFC rated 15

R2 dvd released by Optimum Releasing, extras include a behind the scenes doc with some interesting info on how the film was funded.

Re: Journal: ARGENTINA

Postby wpqx » Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:24 am

I watched Intimate Stories as the first of what may turn into a minor Spanish-language film fest. Rather low key as I expected it and enjoyable in a non-eventful sort of way. I loved the landscape of the film, and how the film felt like you could have shot it.

Re: Journal: ARGENTINA

Postby justindeimen » Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:33 am

Will be viewing Fabin Bielinsky's last film, El Aura (2005) in the next couple of days. I'll share my thoughts on this soon.

Re: Journal: ARGENTINA

Postby hengcs » Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:40 pm

Hey justin,
are you watching from a DVD?
or is it gonna make it to Singapore screen?


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