Monday, March 4, 2013

Superclásico [2011]

MPAA (UR would be R)  Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

IMDb listing

Superclásico an award winning Danish comedy, directed and screenplay cowritten by similarly award winning Danish director Ole Christian Madsen along with Anders Frithiof August, played recently at the Chicago's 16th Annual European Union Film Festival held at the Gene Siskel Film Center in downtown Chicago.

The film tells the story of an until recently quite settled/contented and hence probably quite boring middle-aged Danish small wine shop owner named Christian (played by Anders W. Bertelson) who's very existence gets rocked to the core (eventually...) when his former athlete, since then sport agent wife Anna (played by Paprika Steen) who wasn't yet content to simply wait for death ... left him.  Wow, never saw that coming ... ;-)  

Content initially to just sit in his shop, drink a few (and eventually more than a few) bottles from his "reserve" hoping that this predicament would resolve itself, the reality of the situation finally hits home when he receives divorce papers from his estranged wife that she sent him from Argentina.  Sitting in his nice, clean white kitchen, glass of red wine at his side, no doubt wishing in good part that he could just shrivel-up and die without facing his deeply embarrassing situation, he finds himself (finally) unable to just sign the papers without a fight.

So he decides right, then and there, to take his and Anna's 16 year old similarly quiet (all the quieter since he's started reading  Kierkegaard ... ;-) teenage son Oscar (played by Jamie Morton) out of school for a few weeks and fly with him down to Buenos Aires to try to win back Anna.

It's only when Christian's down there that he begins to realize the full magnitude of his challenge.  This is because his former soccer playing now sports agent wife has become the somewhat older but very sexy lover and (since her lover's a good Catholic) fiancée of one of Argentina's premier soccer gods, a certain Juan Diaz (played by Sebastián Estevanez).  On the day that Christian arrives, Juan scores two goals to single-handedly win Argentina's annual "Superclásico" match between Buenos Aires' archrival teams Boca Juniors and the Rio Plate.  So while Christian had been contentedly running a nice, honest and always "moderately successful wine-business" back in Copenhagen, his wife has bagged a viril and yet (even more annoyingly) boyishly simpático Argentinian sports legend.  What the heck to do?

Well much ensues.  A similarly entertaining if more gentle side-plot plays out when bookish and scared 16-year old Oscar puts down his Kierkegaard and falls head-over-heels for a nice similarly-aged teenage Argentinian tour-guide named Veronica (played by Dafne Schiling) who he meets one day while he and his dad try to "catch some of the sights" (while Christian desperately tries to figure-out what to do).  It turns out that Veronica has a once Kierkegaard-reading, now firmly grounded in reality Argentinian auto-mechanic of a father who, like a good if not necessarily altogether morally consistent dad (the posters gracing the walls of his garage have the requisite number of near naked women posing suggestively with various auto-parts...) defends his lovely teenage daughter's honor with a crow bar in hand.  Much plays out in that story as well ... ;-)

All in all, Superclásico is a fun movie that most adult/teenage viewers would understand.  It reminds all that marriage (indeed any relationship) does require commitment and just contently "waiting for death" is not necessarily the best way to spend the lives that we've been given.  TO BE SURE, the "harlot Anna" has also "made her bed."  By the end of the film, it's clear that she's quite aware that she's become the older (hence aging...) girl-friend and soon to be wife of a young, viril Argentinian soccer legend.  But to otherwise "just wait for death..."?  This is fun film but as comedies often are, a quite thought-provoking one as well.

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