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Argentina, 2012, 75 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Coming of Age, Drama, Family Issues, Medical/Health, Religious, Social Issues
Program: Focus on Nation Cinema: ArgentinaLanguage: Spanish, German English Subtitles
DIRECTOR: Maximiliano Schonfeld
Producer: Fernando Brom, Bárbara Francisco, Maximiliano SchonfeldEditor: Anita RemónScreenwriter: Maximiliano Schonfeld, Rafael CardelliCinematographer: Soledad RodriguezPrincipal Cast: Margarita Greifenstein, Brenda Krütli, Lucas Schell
A Volga German family on a farm in northern Argentina is beset by a mysterious plague. We follow the mother and her two teenagers as they move dreamlike through the last day they will spend among their friends. Although there’s no indication of evildoing, one friend tells the woman that there is talk in the village of divine punishment. Writer/director Maximiliano Schonfeld’s drama provides no answers.
Joyful opening scenes of teenagers frolicking in sunny fields shift abruptly to the grim interior of a chicken house quiet with death. A mother (Margarita Greifenstein), her daughter (Brenda Krütli), and son (Lucas Schell) mournfully walk along rows of roosts where dead and dying chickens lie at grotesque angles. The birds’ weak croaks contrast with the lively chicken chatter underlying the opening scene. The three (all played by nonprofessional actors) collect what few eggs they find, their expressions sad and stoically accepting. They are selling their farm at a loss and moving away the next day, with a tenuous promise of work in a German-speaking town in Brazil.
Cinematagrapher Soledad Rodriguez captures the routine of daily life in the rural community. There is little color in his shots—the sparsely populated countryside, its long, dusty roads, its tiny church, the grave of the family’s father, a tractor towing away a dead cow—that show this day of farewell to be much like any other day here. A potent soundtrack complements the deft visuals.
- JULIET SHERWOOD
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