Wednesday, June 18, 2008

La Léon

The setting is a remote island in coastal northeastern Argentina. We watch Álvaro brood while working, brood while drinking with what appears to be his only friend, brood while watching a soccer match, brood while riding the water-taxi — you get the idea. He harvests reeds, repairs the bindings of library books, and occasionally wanders off for a quickie with some anonymous guy. He gets called a faggot by some of the locals, most notably the obnoxious bully who drives the water-taxi. One small mercy was that the press screener copy let me watch it at 140% speed, so I only spent an hour watching it.

The Frameline program notes extol the "wonderfully textured black-and-white cinematography," which was indeed evocative of the almost colorless world of the main character. However, the film as a whole was dreary and tiresome, almost as much so as Álvaro's life. Not recommended

La Léon, dir. Santiago Otheguy, 2006 Argentina 85 min., in Spanish with English subtitles

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