Sunday, May 07, 2006

Lost Embrace

Fairly funny (and almost moving) Argentine comedy about a group of individuals that own and run small units in an underground shopping arcade in el once, Buenos Aires.

Specifically it is the story of Ariel, a young Jewish man set adrift by the feeling that his father abandoned him as a baby to fight the Yom Kippur war in Israel, who has decided that he must somehow flee the confinement of this little world, even if it means becoming Polish. It's basically a series of bittersweet comic sketches, shot almost in documentary style, with the story of Ariel's eventual reunion with the father he lost holding it all together.

After a long time wondering why there weren't any good movies showing in London, a whole bunch of them are about to turn up. Against my better judgement I have committed to see The Da Vinci Code with Surfer at the Kensington Odeon, but closer to my office at the Curzon there will shortly be showing another film by one of the betterFrench directors of the moment, François Ozon, entitled Le Temps Qui Reste and Down in the Valley with Edward Norton which looks excellent. I'm also looking forward to Secuestro Express a frenetic exploration of the kidnap phenomenon in Latin America and Tony Takitani, based on a story by Haruki Murakami. Next up will probably be Lemming though.


scott said...

I can't speak to most of those films, but have seen Secuestro Express and found it diverting, while not particularly noteworthy. The trope of certain kinds of criminals having more integrity than the police is pretty done, though sad.

Have you seen the handful of new Guatemalan films? I'm rather impressed--Silencio de Neto, Donde Acaban Los Caminos, y La Casa Enfrente in particular. Very different from each other, and flawed in various ways, but a strong crop of films from a country with almost no prior cinema. Casa Comal ( is responsible in large interesting organization.

El Blogador said...

Haven't seen any of those Guatemalan films, but I'll have a look at the Casa Comal site. Thanks.

The closest to a Guatemalan film I've seen was Gregory Nava's excellent 'El Norte' 'Antigua, Vida Mia' which was partly set in Antigua.

Have you read any of Rodrigo Rey Rosa's fiction? Much has been translated by Paul Bowles. He covered the issue of kidnappings in Guatemala in a novela called 'El Cojo Bueno'. Not sure if that one is available in English, but if it is the doble sentido in the title has probably been lost.

scott said...

I attended the US premiere of El Norte, at the Telluride film festival in...1980? maybe 1981? the director (Nava) was there and his two young leads.

I've also enjoyed a Ken Loach film about a Nicaraguan immigrant who leaves Scotland to go be part of the Sandinista revolution...Carla's Song? and a decent John Sayles film (more or less about Guatemala) called Men with Guns. But the films I mentioned before are true Guatemalan films, and it's cool to watch the birth of a true national cinema.

I didn't know a thing about RRR until you mentioned him, but I really enjoy Bowles' work. I'll check him out. I would imagine the translations are sensitive and literate. I could stumble through the original versions but I'd lose quite a bit of nuance...more than with a translation, probably. (I've read that Marquez thinks his translator makes his books read better in English than Spanish!) Thanks for the recommendation.