Monday, August 10, 2015


A guy boogies at a club. The next morning is one of the hottest that year in his city, Buenos Aries, so he takes a dip in the pool and then does the mowing. It's a plug-in and he runs over the cord. In the shed he finds the tools to repair the cord but when putting the tin with assorted tools back he finds a pistol on the shelf behind it. He examines it in idle curiosity before going up to his room and shooting himself in the head and then stomach.

All of these things are keys to this strange fable of admonishment. As we continue watching people pass things on rather than deal with them, regardless of consequence. When asked why he shot himself  Mariano tells the shrink what we all know already: no reason. When the doctor suggests some Rosarch testing Mariano tells him he did those after a previous incident and would just give the appropriate answers. His mother gathers the gun and the rest of the weapons but, as Mariano tells his brother at the burger joint, she needn't bother.

Meanwhile Mariano goes back to playing recorder in his early music quartet but the others wince at the wolf notes he's getting. He explains them away as a consequence of one of the bullets remaining in his body (though the xrays show nothing and the doctors aren't bothered to pursue it) and they let it slide in the hope that it will go away.

Mariano's brother has a kind of fling with the girl at the burger place who's forever breaking up with her boyfriend (who turns up on double dates as thought serving out his notice). There's a lot more of this and it seems like nothing is going to change until Susana, Mariano's mother, and ex-recorder quartet partner take a holiday from the apparent main characters and go to the beach. But they've picked up a divorcee friend of theirs (amid a lot of talk about mistaking cordless handsets for mobile phones). When the divorcee can't get into her intended beach house she goes to Susana's place and they are soon joined by The divorcee's ex and his new wife. And then we follow this trio as they find that no one wants them around.

The characters live in a world of partly desaturated colour and only minimally engage with us but they aren't drawn to go further or appear brighter. We are looking at a bourgeois lifestyle that has become so backed up with expecting the important things to be dealt with by assumption or appointment that they are at a loss to act for themselves when they must. The gun is discovered and rediscovered but never thrown out. If the difference between life and death is too hard...

Finally, after we've been taken out of the loop into another just as elastic we arrive at the promise of action but will do nothing to break a loop, it is covert and criminal. Roll credits.

I tried to settle into this as a kind of mumblecore piece and noted that it is one of those films that remind us of how much time and money and trouble films are to make. This isn't a home movie, the production values are high, the acting note-perfect and the look and feel authorial and uniform. When we are invited at several points to join it in a laugh we happily do so but are left lost and worried to find it get up and leave us again. It's only when we accept that it is not about laughs (though it does have a few very good ones) but the absurdity of a life spent in ignorance of how it came to be.

There was no clapping at the credits (a phenomenon I get but don't enjoy) but one guy hissed and was quietly congratulated for it. Maybe the movie worked, then.

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