Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Love (orig. Un Amor) [2011]

MPAA (UR would be R)  Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
Cinenacional.com* listing

A Love (orig. Un Amor) [2011] [CN]* (directed and cowritten by Paula Hern├índez [CN]* along with Leonel D'Agostino [CN]* based on the short story by Sergio Bizzio [CN]* is a simple, poignant, well-crafted romance from Argentina that played recently at the 29th Chicago Latino Film Festival.  The film won the 2012 Argentinian Academy Award for best adapted screenplay* [IMDb].

The story is about three people, Bruno, Lalo and Lisa who as 15 year-olds back in 1970 had spent summer vacation together in the same town, Victoria (perhaps Victoria Entre Rios), some 3 hours from Buenos Aires.

Lalo (as a 15 year old played by Agustin Pardella [CN]*) and Bruno (as a 15 year old played by Alan Daicz [CN]*) were both locals from Victoria / friends from the same school even if not from the same social classes.  Lalo's father was an auto-mechanic who owned his own garage, Bruno's family appeared to be more white collar.

Into their world entered Lisa (as a 15 year old played by Denise Groesman [CN]*), presumably from Buenos Aires, whose 30-something parents appeared to be genial intellectuals/hippies. (Part of the subtext to the film is the "gathering storm" of what became the notorious Dirty War of the mid-70s).  As such, Lisa simply appeared in Bruno/Lalo's world one summer day in 1970 and then along with her family drove away (in presumed haste) near the end of it (but after having left a lifelong impression on both of them).

Lisa's "big city" / "intellectual" roots played out in the film in a number of ways, though above all through her confidence bordering (to the "provincials" Lalo and Bruno) on being "bossy" (this even though her parents, in as much as one saw them, seemed so "laid back").

Bruno and Lalo experienced Lisa's assertive character differently.  It would seem that Bruno experienced it as being "big city, worldly" (and arguably even somewhat "slutty/loose").  He really always seemed to see Lisa as basically a sexual conquest to be hoped for if not (necessarily) had.  Lalo, in contrast, fell in love.

So much, often poignant/cute (especially when looking back to one's own adolescent years) ensues... until, of course, one day Lisa and her family are gone.  They simply packed-up / left in haste, leaving no means of contacting them in the future.

The story resumes then in the more recent past.  (Mind the reader, that the story actually bounces throughout the film between "the summer of 1970" and the "recent past").

Bruno (played as an adult by Diego Peretti [CN]*) is now married (his wife played by Valeria Lois [CN]*) in Buenos Aires with two young children, a boy and a girl.

Into his life appears once more Lisa (played as an adult by Elena Roger [CN]*) who just shows up one day at the front door to his family's flat.  She, world-traveling (one could say, jet-setting) but never married, worked apparently for one or another international NGO, was in town for a couple of days, and above all ... really wanted to meet Lalo.

Lalo (played as an adult by Luis Ziembrowski [CN]*) remained back in Victoria, never married but with a small boy who he had with a local woman who he never married and had since broken-up with.  And he seemed to have taken over his dad's former garage, working again, as his father had, as an automechanic.

Bruno hasn't been back to Victoria in years.  When first asked by Lisa for Lalo's number, he answered that he didn't know it, but when pressed further, it becomes clear that he still had it memorized.

On the other side of the coin, Bruno's wife, who had previously not even really heard of Lisa, would really like to get this Lisa out of her / her husband's life again.  Bruno, who clearly hadn't thought much about Lalo, Lisa or Victoria much at all during the past years, is now confused.

Things begin to head toward a resolution when Bruno visits Lisa at her hotel room, and just as he's there, Lalo returns Lisa's previous day's phone call.  Since Lisa's in town for just a day or two more, Lisa and Lalo quickly make arrangements to meet, in Victoria, three hours away, the next day.  Bruno who leaves Lisa's room after the phone decides, when he gets home to his family, to go down to Victoria (which he himself hasn't visited in years) the next day as well ... even if it meant skipping a previously scheduled and fairly important event with his wife/family (a bat mitzvah on his wife's side of the family...).

Much, obviously, still ensues ...

I found the movie to be very nice.  I do think the film-makers were a bit crueler at times with Bruno's character than they had to be, even if at the end he comes out reasonably okay as well.  But above all, the film's about "A Love" that may have happened when one was 15 but clearly lasted a lifetime.  It's a very nice and (generally) gentle film.   Good job ;-)

* Immediate machine translation of foreign (in this case Spanish) language links are generally best viewed using Google's Chrome browser.


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