Life is no bed of roses for 52-year-old Juan "Coco" Villegas. He, who has been a gas station attendant for twenty years in Patagonia, finds himself jobless overnight. He first tries to survive by selling knives of his own making. But business is bad and he can't find real work. One day though, after fixing a vehicle on a farm, he gets paid by means of a ... beautiful Argentinian watch-dog! From this blessed day on, things start shaping well at last... Written by
A captivating story told in a subtle naturalistic cinematic style. A largely novice cast give fine performances. Special mention should be made of Juan Villegas' portrayal of the main character 'Coco'; a good-hearted and modest ex-gas-station attendant who is vainly looking for work doing "simple mechanics". Coco's journey is engrossing and leads the viewer in an understated manner through the social landscapes of unemployment, poverty and inequality to the quaint world of dog exhibiting, whilst all the time the natural and industrial landscapes of Patagonia (beautifully filmed by Hugo Colace) serve to provide a sometimes bleak and sometimes beautiful visual canvas.
The characters he meets, from the boastful dog-trainer to the empathetic restaurant-singer, are finely drawn and are often contrasted against Coco's simplicity and naivity. Unlike some I didn't find the ending a disappointment - I'd say that it proved a fitting climax.
This gem of a film has many facets. As a foreign viewer I found wit, pathos and charm aplenty. I found a world that was believable, at turns hauntingly sad and others full of kindness and hope; characters that I cared about and whose story I wanted to follow.
And then of course there is Bombon! a dog of impeccable pedigree who fills the screen (literally) and who is the catalyst in Coco's life... he should be the canine manifestation of Latin American machismo but he has an effeminate name and questionable libido...
Fine score by Nicolas Sorin - beautiful and never irritating or obtrusive. Worth viewing on the big screen but if you don't then definitely get hold of this film on DVD.
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