Las Acacias Review

4/5

Following its success at Cannes earlier this year, Las Acacias has gone on to impress film festival audiences the world round. For a directorial debut, Pablo Giorgelli creates an astonishing piece of cinema that isn’t afraid to break modern conventions.

The film follows Rubén (Germán de Silva), a truck driver who has spent many years travelling the lonely roads of South America. On one of these trips he agrees to take a woman, Jacinta (Hebe Duarte), from Paraguay to Buenos Aires as a favour for a friend. What he doesn’t realise is that Jacinta has also brought her five-month-old baby, Anahí (Nayra Calle Mamani) along with her.

As a man who has clearly spent a lot of time on his own, it is evident that Rubén is not overly impressed by his new companions. However, what ensues is a touching portrayal of a budding relationship that affords the piece an undeniable realism.

The overall performances of the cast are spellbinding. As a well known character actor, de Silva is pitch-perfect in his transformation from tired cynic to a lonely man in need of familial affection. As a first performance, Duarte upholds a natural believability that allows the viewer to truly accept her as the character she plays. This is no doubt helped by the incredible chemistry she shares with the young Mamani. It is hard to believe that the two are not really mother and daughter, as the bond between the pair is astonishing.

Although the film contains very little dialogue, the facial movements and expressions of the cast are sufficient to depict the exact feelings and desires of their characters. Giorgelli’s decision to keep conversation to a minimum is an audacious move, but one which undeniably works. It mirrors reality in the way strangers have a tendency to be quiet and defensive towards each other when they first meet, but who gradually relax as time goes by. As Rubén and Jacinta become increasingly comfortable in each others company, a warmth begins to develop and an obvious chemistry blossom.

The film’s cinematography is another point worthy to note. Predominately featuring two camera angles – either on de Silva or Duarte – there is a definite emphasis that all the attention of the film is focused on these two characters. As blurred images of desolate landscapes drift by in each scene, these two remain in focus. Both are clearly troubled by a past they would rather put behind them, and this is no less portrayed in the way the film is shot. Focusing on the present, it is as though outside the cab of the truck everything else ceases to exist. For the short time the three are together, that is all that matters.

No doubt the slow pace of the film will deter those in need of something more visually stimulating, its attention to detail and well thought out comparisons to real life, make it a fantastic debut. There is a certain charm found in Giorgelli’s piece that is rarely seen in conventional cinema; it allows the viewer to reflect on the lead characters circumstance and relate to it in a way that is not often possible in fiction.

Las Acacias will be screened at the Cameo from Dec 9th.

Taken from The Student, published online Wed Dec 7th 2011.

Advertisements

One Response to Las Acacias Review

  1. I saw an advert for this in the cinema and was intrigued by it. The story sounds very profound, but was a bit concerned that the slow pace could end up being a bit boring to watch in the cinema? Your review seems to suggest not, so I think I definitely need to check it out!

    ps. very impressed by your blog by the way! A lot of awesome reviews that I need catch up on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: