It is summertime in Buenos Aires, and excerpts from Verdi´s La Traviata and homoerotic sequences provide the mood. Handsome and lonely gay single dad Santiago (Leonardo Sbaraglia) is in his forties, lives in an apartment with his teenage dancer daughter Laila (Miranda de la Serna), owns a restaurant, and looks for company in meeting places and private parties where men dance, drink, chat, eat and have fun. At the party, his friend Fedes advises Santigo to pull things from deep inside of him to find meaning, and to reach the bottom to get what he needs, and indeed he does.
To complete the family portrait there is Santiago´s mother Isabel (Beatriz Rajland), Luis (Alberto Ajaka) an ex-significant other, who is a writer living alone away from the city, Eloísa (fabulous Eva Llorrach) Laila´s mother, Fede (Iván González) a friend, and Nancy, the cat.
A guest at the same party remarks: life is a blow and how time flies away… Santiago´s life lacks inner balance, and he spends his time in a vicious circle co-depending on the ones he has hurt and on the kindness of strangers (one-night stands). He can´t be with himself and also makes miserable the lives of others too. It is interesting to observe how the movie plot shows a mirror image in relation to his daughter´s mother, as Eloísa has a similar turmoil herself, which is something destructive inside that never quiets down.
Especially touching are the sequences of Santiago while sitting in his mother’s kitchen watching a late Maria Callas performance of Casta Diva, and of Eloísa at the piano singing Caetano Veloso´s Coracao Vagabundo.
Performances of the ensemble cast, a reminder of French cinema, are emotionally convincing. The trip to Brazil for the New Year celebration, beautifully shot, brings joy and drama to deserve a special mention.
After watching the movie, I wonder how standing on the edge of an abyss may provide the most wonderful view, how we all try to understand ourselves while walking on a ledge, the importance of looking ahead, and how we have to learn to let go to find freedom.
It is an enthralling experience of a film.
Written and directed by Leonardo Brzezicki. Leonardo Sbaraglia and Miranda de la Serna won Best Actor/Actress Awards from the Argentinean Academy for this film. Plus We have seen Sbaraglia in Ariel Winograd´s El Gerente, Pedro Almodovar´s Pain and Glory, Damián Szifrón´s Wild Tales, and Marcelo Piñeyro´s Burnt Money, to name a few.
Review by José Mayorga , Guatemala, Central America lawyer and notary public, visual artist, and editor of El Azar Cultural, lives and works in Guatemala City. Cinema lover, curious about the possibilities life brings and eager to live the experience.