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The Dark Side of the Heart (1992)

El lado oscuro del corazón (original title)
Oliveiro is a young poet living in Buenos Aires where sometimes he has to sell his ideas to an advertising agency to make a living or exchange his poems for a steak. In Montevideo, he meets... See full summary »



(poems), (poems) | 2 more credits »

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12 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
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Roberto is an insurance salesman who dreams of writing his own novel. When he meets Estela, a young woman about to commit suicide, it serves him as material to make this work.

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Rosalía is a cashier at a supermarket. She lives alone, loves reading fairy tales and hides in a magic fantasy world in order to survive living in the real one. She thinks she is a fairy ... See full summary »

Director: Eliseo Subiela
Stars: Héctor Alterio, Antonio Birabent, Mónica Galán


Complete credited cast:
Sandra Ballesteros ...
Jean Pierre Reguerraz ...
Mónica Galán ...
La ex esposa
Inés Vernengo ...
La ciega
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marisa Aguilera ...
Mariana Baranchuk ...
Amiga Ana
Claudia Bedacarratz ...
Poeta Aleman
Jesús Berenguer ...
Publicitario 1
Pablo Brichta ...
Silvina Chaine ...
Mujeres cabaret


Oliveiro is a young poet living in Buenos Aires where sometimes he has to sell his ideas to an advertising agency to make a living or exchange his poems for a steak. In Montevideo, he meets a prostitute, Ana, with whom he falls in love. Back in Buenos Aires, he accepts a contract with a publicity agency to get the money for three days of love with her. Will he get what he's searching for when his ideal of love's pleasure is literally going in levitation while making love? Written by Jean-Marie Berthiaume <jiembe@videotron.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Romance | Drama


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 September 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Dark Side of the Heart  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This Argentina's official selection for the 1992 Oscar Awards, Foreign Language film category. When the Oscar nominations came out it was overlooked in favor of Un Lugar en el mundo (1992) (A Place in the World) which was later the only film in Academy Awards history to have been removed from the final ballot. See more »


Followed by El lado oscuro del corazón 2 (2001) See more »


Saltzburg Symphomy No. 1
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

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User Reviews

Greatly philosophical and poetic, although a bit thick
3 March 2011 | by (Planet Earth) – See all my reviews

Another magic and unmistakable film by the Argentinean director and screenwriter Eliseo Subiela.

This is the story of Oliverio, a poor poet without success and his personal quest to find his perfect woman.

This is a story of non-mainstream art and artists who live their lives fully, with coherence, and unconventionally. This is a movie about the importance of poetry and Art in daily life, and about how perfection can be sometimes found in somebody else's rubbish bin.

In this movie, Subiela has the ability to talk about sex and passion in an explicit way, yet full of lyricism and without vulgarity. He harmoniously mixes the conscious, the subconscious and surrealist elements in an easy to understand way. Subiela creates a reality that is personal and real for dreamer Oliverio, real to him, although unreal to us. Subiela also creates a world of alternatives lives within reality as not everybody lives the same, thinks the same, or approaches reality and the world in the same way.

This movie has memorable poetic dialogs, with the intervention of the late Argentinean poet Benedetti (who plays a small role and recites some poems in German in a brothel), the surreal conversations of Oliverio with Death (played by Nacha Guevara) as if they were two friends or lovers who have known each other forever, or his conversations on Time with a cow. In fact, there are so many magic moments in this film that they are impossible to list here.

The downs of the movie are two to me. The first, is the performance by the leading actor, Dario Grandinetti, who I found painful to watch, as he overacts badly all the time; not even his gorgeous naked body was able to make me forget his performance. The second down is the footage, as the movie is 2 hours long and overcrowded with dialogs of great philosophical depth, which can bring you to desperation and give you a headache. I think that a reduction of the footage and the chopping of some of the scenes/dialogs would have helped the movie to get along in a more fluid way without losing any depth.

This movie is full of magic, onirism, surrealism, poetry, and human depth. It is not easy to watch, but mesmerizing at the same time. However, you just have to be ready to watch it, as this is not a film for lazy watchers!

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