Monday, August 14, 2006

Historias Mínimas

Carlos Sorin shot this delightful film about three personal journeys across Patagonia back in 2002 before making Bombón El Perro, and we both agreed that it is in many ways superior.

There's a dog in this one too, with the stand-out name of Malacara (Badface). It is a quest for this errant pet that pushes octogenarian Don Justo out onto the bleak road from Fitz Roy to San Julián.

On its own Don Justo's story lacks the strength to hold up an entire feature-length screenplay, so Sorin adds a couple more travellers on the route - a salesman bearing a cake for the offspring of a customer he's taken a fancy to and a young country girl who is to appear on a TV game show for the chance to win a food processor. All three journeys have ambiguous results, which adds to the powerful emotional punch in what is otherwise a cleverly understated narrative.

Like Carlos Reygadas, Carlos Sorin is a director who prefers to use non-professionals. (All but two of the cast here had no previous acting experience.) Yet people acting 'as themselves' give these Argentinian films enormous heart, where the Mexican director uses a similar methodology to represent a rather strangulated pyschological neutrality.

As in Bombón El Perro, Sorin's overall aim seems to be communicating the kind-heartedness and likeability of comparatively unsophisticated people living on the world's periphery.

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