Argentine director Carlos Sorin scores a triumph with this wonderfulmovie in which he, working with the brilliant script of Pablo Solarz,take us for a ride into that lonely area of the Argentina's Southernregion of Patagonia.
If you haven't seen the film, perhaps you should stop reading.
The story brings together three lives into play. First there is the oldDon Justo Benedictis, who we see at the beginning of the film beingtested for glasses. He is at the end of his life, at the edge ofsenility, but still with a zest of life. He wants to make peace,perhaps before dying with his old dog that disappeared and according toa passerby, it's been seen at the entrance of San Julian, a town 200miles away.
Then, there is Maria, the young woman employed in the local gasstation, who evidently is from a neighboring country, perhaps Bolivia.Her best friend comes to tell her she has been named one of thefinalists for the grand prize of a local television program. She has aninfant and she objects to the trip because she can't leave the stationunattended, but her friend insists she should go.
The third brief story is about Roberto. He is a traveling salesman onhis way to San Julian to see the young widow he has been courting. It'sgoing to be one of her young children's birthdays and he has ordered acake in the shape of a football. Along the way to San Julian, doubtassaults Roberto. Suddenly he thinks that Rene, the name of thebirthday child might not be a boy. What if it's a girl? Since he hasthe cake in the car, he wants to change it into something unisex. He isdirected to the home of a kind woman who helps him change the footballinto a cute turtle.
This is basically the premise of this road movie. The emphasis is onDon Justo, who shows an uncanny sense of intelligence. He has seen alot during his life. His story is the most tender of the three becausewe realize he will not be among us for a long time. Thus, his reunionwith his dear lost dog becomes so poignant. Don Justo receives kindnessfrom everyone he meets, including Roberto, who happens to take DonJusto in his car during the last part of the journey.
Roberto, also arrives at San Julian and finds the widow's house locked.All that traveling, just for nothing! Also, when he sees her returnwith the children, he sees a younger man with them and thinks all islost for him. Maria, is seen at the television studio participating inthe game in which she will win the top prize, but another contestantwill get her to change her mind and give it to her in exchange of amore eye catching gift and money.
At the end we see Don Justo at the rear of the bus that is bringing himhome with his dog by his feet. We also see Maria with her baby openingthe prize she won in the contest. Roberto too, will find out how wronghe was thinking the young widow has a new interest. Yes, at the end isa happy one for all the three people we meet on the road.
This is, without a doubt, one of the best films to come out ofArgentina in years. We watch people without complications take care oftheir problems in a positive way. The film is uplifting in that itshows us human situations about people we can relate to. They couldhave been our neighbors, or friends.
Mr. Sorin has extracted wonderful performances from all the people onesees in the film. The best being that of Antonio Benedicto, who stealsone's heart with his portrayal of the older man, at the end of life,trying to make amends and be at peace with the world. Javier Lombardo,who plays Roberto, makes a tremendous impression with his effortlesstake on the salesman. Finally, Javiera Bravo, brings a certain naiveteto her role as the unsophisticated woman who is now the center ofattention.
Watch this excellent film with an open mind, as it will stay with theviewer for a long time to come.