Críticas de EL ESTUDIANTE y YATASTO en Variety
Si bien no es la intención de este blog hacer un copy/paste de críticas de otros medios (algo que hacía muy seguido en la vieja encarnación de Micropsia en Blogspot, me parece que las críticas que Variety saca de las dos muy buenas películas argentinas que estuvieron en competencia internacional del BAFICI bien ameritan este […]
Si bien no es la intención de este blog hacer un copy/paste de críticas de otros medios (algo que hacía muy seguido en la vieja encarnación de Micropsia en Blogspot, me parece que las críticas que Variety saca de las dos muy buenas películas argentinas que estuvieron en competencia internacional del BAFICI bien ameritan este espacio. No me pidan que las traduzca, confío que todos tienen un buen inglés o un Google Translate a mano para ayudarlos en la tarea.
Así que les dejo aquí los textos de Robert Koehler sobre EL ESTUDIANTE, deSantiago Mitre, y YATASTO, de Hermes Paralluelo.
Santiago Mitre’s «The Student» is a taut, incisive look at university wheeling and dealing.
Since Paula is kind of cute, Roque isn’t initially attracted by what he hears, but rather by what he sees. Mitre and the camera unit of Gustavo Biazzi, Soledad Rodriguez, Federico Cantini and Alejo Maglio understand this crucial dichotomy, allowing the viewer to absorb Roque’s point of view through tight, telephoto framings redolent with desire and uncertainty. Once drawn in, however, and having shared relations (this is one dude who moves fast with the ladies), he’s lured into the university’s vivid political realm.
The discussion that follows may be a first for Argentine cinema: a sometimes dialectical conversation between an older generation of Peronists who suffered in the 1970s «dirty war,» and the younger generation, also leftist, but far more skeptical of the Peronist populist tradition. Though moments may not completely translate to non-Argentine auds, screenwriter Mitre (who scripted previously for helmer Pablo Trapero) takes pains to make the import universal.
Indeed, as Roque rises through the ranks of his chosen university political party, and is befriended by professor and veteran pol Acevedo (Ricardo Felix, in a nicely subdued performance), the lad’s bitter experience with realpolitik’s culture of horse-trading becomes all too familiar, and eventually makes «The Student» less intriguing than it started out to be.
Eager to put aside his everyday studies for the sexier climes of elections and coalition-building, Roque willingly becomes Acevedo’s go-to guy for party deals and event organizing. It hardly surprises, then, when the young man realizes that students are being exploited by the wily vets, and that Acevedo is more than willing to make a secret alliance when it suits his own needs.
Roque’s final response to Acevedo’s latest offer is the film’s worst dramatic mistake, but doesn’t deflate the pic’s overall impact as a credible depiction of student life today in Argentina.
Lamothe, frequently adopting a poker face, which adds to Roque’s appeal, dominates the drama from opening frames to finish. Pic’s sense of place and intensifying mood, so crucial to the narrative, are effectively supported by key production elements like Los Natas’ strong score and designer Micaela Saiegh’s creation of a cutthroat university world.
Solid reception in Buenos Aires for ‘Yatasto’ augers good things on what looks like a long and worthy fest trip.
Barcelona-born Paralleulo’s previous, visually impressive short, «Sugarloaf,» was concerned with the solitary existence of the last man at a defunct mining operation. «Yatasto» embraces an entirely different tone and perspective: Here, attention is paid to an extended family group, centered on teen and pre-teen cousins Bebo, Pata and Ricardo, the last of whom boldly announces to the older two kids that he’s «interested in cash.»
And indeed, cash is what the boys’ efforts are all about. Supported by Bebo’s grandmother Chinina, Uncle Canario and his mom — the youths are expected to scrounge through trash and others’ leftovers, and lug them via horse-drawn cart to a Cordoba recycler. Paralluelo, with his script and lensing partner Ezequiel Salinas, builds the film on sustained sequences in which his camera sits on the cart, gazing at the boys (or whomever is driving it), producing magnificent reverse tracking shots through Cordoba’s streets and boulevards.
These aren’t merely elegant pieces of documentary filmmaking, but glimpses into what cinema seldom grasps: The real lives of the poor. It turns out that they can be quite funny, as when Chinina chides Bebo for his careless driving, and they end up having a huge box of items fall off the cart and get strewn all over the street behind them.
Punctuating such sections are well-judged scenes around the families’ homes, where the boys muse on their lives and the horses on whom everything depends. Ricardo dreams of being a jockey, while Beto already seems to be leading the business in lieu of any responsible father figures, most of whom are generally drunk and useless. The title refers to a passing reference to a desirable horse housed some distance from where the families live — an unobtainable object just out of grasp.
On a low budget, production elements are excellent, but never too slick to mar the verite intentions behind the filmmaking, which is more than a little influenced by Pedro Costa’s films set in the Lisbon slums, including «In Vanda’s Room.»