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Argentina, 2011, 112 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: Chile
Genre/Subjects: Art/Filmmaking, Drama
Programs: Focus on Nation Cinema: Argentina, New Directors Showcase, Reel Social ClubLanguage: Spanish English Subtitles
DIRECTOR: Diego Rougier
Producer: Javiera ContadorEditor: Danielle FilliosScreenwriter: Diego RougierCinematographer: David BravoPrincipal Cast: Fele Martinez, Javiera Contador, Sergio Hernandez, Patricio Contreras, Luis Dubo
Argentinean director Diego Rougier sets his dark Western thriller in Chile’s Atacama Desert, a vast, lawless landscape where drug lords rule. Obsessed with creating an authentic movie script, aspiring Spanish writer Sergio (Fele Martinez) plunks himself down in the middle of this inhospitable territory. His quest for real experience is answered with terrifying confrontations with the local drug lord, Victor (Sergio Hernandez), and his gang of menacing henchmen. Unfortunately for Sergio, he is mistaken for Diego, a heroic gunslinger who disappeared years ago without Victor’s consent.
People in the desert’s remote town receive “Diego” joyfully, and warmly invite him to a party. After he agrees to attend, his mistaken identity is firmly established. The author begins his journey to becoming his own character. The bad guys kidnap him and dump him miles from nowhere, at old Vizcacha’s (Patricio Contreras) desert shack. Under the tutelage of the tough, shrewd old hermit, who has his own issues with Victor, Sergio finally stops protesting and learns to do what the real Diego would have done. Violence and mayhem ensue, with brutal torture and coldhearted murder reminiscent of the action in the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men. Victor’s beautiful wife’s history with Diego figures in the plot.
Rougier, an award-winning TV director and maker of music videos, uses haunting music by Gonzalo Valenzuela to enhance the feelings of stark helplessness and pain that Sergio/Diego experiences in his escape attempts. Memorable framing and contrasts of light and dark by photography director David Bravo combine with the music to dramatize the action—action that takes place in the middle of a dry lake, where salt corrodes, destroys, and corrupts everything in its way.
- JULIET SHERWOOD
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