(Argentina) A Las ganas que te deseo/Yokondo Cine/Panoramix production. Produced, directed, written by Raul Perrone.With: Luis Grossi, Adrian Barilaro, Leonardo Stella, Carolina Fernandez, Anabella Giordano.
By ROBERT KOEHLER
Slacker skaters rule in Raul Perrone's "Bonus Track," until, that is, the camaraderie begins to fray at the edges. The latest in a long, fascinating line of personal, ultra-low-budget films focused on young people's everyday lives from one of Argentina's most independent filmmakers, the pic also is distinctive as one of the first Latin American works to capture skateboard culture. As such, it should be on the radar of youth-themed fests, though Perrone's signature low-key approach will prove a tough sell.
Lucho (Luis Grossi), Adrian (Adrian Barilaro) and Mapuche (Leonardo Stella) hang out in any available skating area in their local digs, the Buenos Aires 'burb of Ituzaingo. True to his nonjudgmental approach, Perrone simply lets the dudes be themselves, and expects auds to hang in there for the ride.
Early sections establish their casual bonding, as well as a town that's alternately conducive to skaters (the guys visit a decked-out indoor skate course, check out new boards at a shop, get fresh tattoos) and hostile (a storeowner angrily shoos them away from a small shopping mall). They even have the run of an abandoned cinema, which serves as Perrone's highly evocative crowning setpiece.
Under the bravado surface, though, are a group of kids unsure where they're headed. Chat about parents pressuring them to get jobs, or of schoolteachers they want to put in their rearview mirrors, or -- more circumspect -- about relationships, is all infused with genuine adolescent insecurity, filtered through nonstop wisecracks. The girls in the circle, like Carolina (Carolina Fernandez) and Ana (Anabella Giordano), seem to be mere hangers-on until the pic's final section, which grows suddenly more somber as emotional strains begin to show.
Along with Larry Clark (who made his own skater movie with "Wassup Rockers"), Perrone is one of the few boomer-age filmmakers who seems to fathom kids at their level, and never betrays a hint of condescension. This comes through in the easy-come-easy-go perfs of his nonpro, largely local cast. Angel Arozamena's HD lensing marks a technical step forward for Perrone, one of Argentina's first helmers to fully embrace video.The pic is the second in a trilogy, launched by his other 2009 feature, "180 Grados."
Camera (color, HD), Angel Arozamena; editor, Lorna Santiago; music, Anahi Colombo; sound, Gaspar Scheuer, Pablo De Marco; supervising sound editor, Scheuer; assistant director, Bernardo Demonte. Reviewed at Buenos Aires Film Festival, March 31, 2009. Running time: 84 MIN.
(Spain-Argentina) A Premium Cine (in Spain) release of a Quimera Films (Spain)/Zarlek Producciones (Argentina) production, in association with El Otro Yo, Huinca Cine, Carrousel Film. (International sales: Quimera, Madrid.) Produced by Luis A. Sartor, Guillermo Madjarian, Alejandro Pineyro, Julio Recio. Directed by Alberto Lecchi. Screenplay, Pablo Solarz.
With: Dario Grandinetti, Leticia Bredice, Martin Piroyansky, Nicolas Scarpino.
By JONATHAN HOLLAND
A film whose main plot point is the spillage of a urine sample may not sound especially alluring, but that's just what "The Bottle" is. A quietly compelling romantic comedy about the awkwardness between two outsiders in rural Argentina, the movie stakes its claim via its ability to observe accurate detail -- both physical and emotional -- in the service of a genuinely heartwarming, well-rounded and unpretentious tale. Argentine helmer Alberto Lecchi's pic earned gongs at the Valladolid fest last fall and went out in Spain mid-April.
Scripter Pablo Solarz wrote Carlos Sorin's "Intimate Stories," and this gentle paean to human kindness feels almost as if it had been made by that Argentine director ("Bombon: El perro"), with an extra shot of sentimentality.
Juan Perez (Dario Grandinetti), known as "the Mute," is a bus driver bordering on simple-minded. Romina (Leticia Bredice) has a mysterious past, lives in a beat-up motor home and finds it hard to relate to the local community apart from the kids she teaches. As a state employee in contact with the public, Romina has been asked to supply a urine sample for a health check: Unable to make the journey herself, she asks Juan, who worships her from afar, to deliver it.
First, the sample is locked for two days in a roadside bar. Having recovered it, Juan then drops it and, embarrassed, substitutes some of his own urine, a ridiculous decision that's justified later. Cue a series of comic misunderstandings (all exploited to the max), in which Juan claims to be Romina's husband: The fact that there's a problem with the sample introduces a new note of melancholy.
Pic's biggest questions -- why Juan is so tight-lipped and why Romina is so embittered -- are duly answered. But there's so much going on in the meantime that they come almost as an afterthought. (A subplot involves Romina's nephew Luisito (Martin Piroyansky) "kidnapping" a young girl to free her from her father's violent behavior.
About himself, Juan simply says, "Sometimes, I think badly." Drawing on the tropes of silent comedy to create his straight-backed, wide-eyed, short-trousered character, Grandinetti, who's rarely offscreen, effectively makes his unattractive character plausibly attractive to Romina, though he sometimes overdoes the simpleton aspects. Bredice, with her clear, yearning gaze, makes it clear the damage done to Romina may break out at any moment.Dialogue is minimal but effective. The wilderness of Argentina's Santa Fe province, through which Juan drives his bus, are captured by lenser Hugo Colace in all their striking bleakness. The score, appropriately, is tinged with hints of spaghetti Westerns.
Camera (color), Hugo Colace; editor, Javier Ruiz Caldera; music, Julian Vat; art director, Mariana Sourrouille; sound (Dolby Digital), Jorge Stavropulos. Reviewed at Cines Rosaleda, Malaga, Spain, April 22, 2009. Running time: 93 MIN.