After receiving a tip from a barber friend, Emilio bets on a horse and wins a considerable amount of money. To celebrate, he invites his small group of friends, the barber, and "the doctor"... See full summary »
After receiving a tip from a barber friend, Emilio bets on a horse and wins a considerable amount of money. To celebrate, he invites his small group of friends, the barber, and "the doctor" - a mysterious underworld crime figure much older than the others. It is Carnival season, and they all party together for 3 days. At the end of this period, Emilio wakes up in a strange place, and cannot remember all that happened. But a terrible, recurring dream suggests that his memory is failing him, and he must find out what these awful events are. He consults an elderly man known for his psychic powers, and both the man and his daughter (with whom Emilio falls in love and marries) advise Emilio not to continue his search for that possibly life-threatening forgotten truth. But the advice does not detain Emilio. Three years later, Emilio goes to the same barber shop, and gets another winning tip from another barber. It is also Carnival time, and Emilio decides to invite the same group again to ... Written by
up and out
Good adaptation of famous and acclaimed Argentine novel
This is one of the handful of movies directed by the very multi faceted and prolific Argentine artist/producer Sergio Renán. He's been director of the world class Colon Theater (the finest opera house in Latin America), actor, screenwriter, and a director/producer of virtually all forms of the scenic arts. This is his most ambitious screen work since his debut film "La Tregua" (1974), the first Oscar-nominated Argentine film (if not the first in Spanish) in the Best Foreign Language film category. This happened 23 years prior to the release of this film, during which time Renán was involved in dozens of projects, and survived an almost fatal disease.
His story is on the DVD version, by the way, in a 15 or 20 minute recent (2003) interview. Adapting this respected Argentine novel was a major challenge for Renán in the years preceding this film's release. Even after its premiere, it was edited twice; 15 minutes were cut for general release in Argentina, and the DVD version is another 7 minutes shorter, at 113 minutes.
The bustling Buenos Aires of the 20s and early 30s is brilliantly recreated; this, no doubt, a result of the director's expertise in the scenic arts, costumes, and attention to details. The actors are all top of the line Argentine actors, with Spanish great Fernando Fernán Gómez in a small but memorable role.
While the film perhaps does not transmit the full message of the book, nor is it as interesting, it's an adequate adaptation. Its excellent visuals and performances somehow make up for other imperfections. The editing of the picture, down to less than two hours in length, also adds to the "view - ability" of the picture. It's all in all a film which shouldn't be missed by those interested in Argentina, its history, literature, and cinema. Other viewers may not be very excited, though as I said, its visuals, plot, and pace make it palatable for all audiences. It's definitely not the interminable claustrophobic "art film." It's worth a couple of hours of your time.
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