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When the fun of double dating begins to grow old, Richard and Bettina share a dirty little secret with their friends Diego and Emilia: They live a double life as swingers, and would love to share this practice with them.
In many ways, "Derecho de familia" can be considered as the highest point in Daniel Burman's filmography; it's very different from his previous efforts. Thematically, it leaves aside the Jewish feelings of "El abrazo partido" and "Esperando al mesías", which constructed most of the humor from the religion; visually, it shows the beginning of a more experimental phase that would culminate with "El nido vacío".
That the film doesn't revolve around Judaism-even when its main character is Jewish-, is an advantage to see Burman exploring relationships as they are and free of stereotypes. The movie begins with a narration by Ariel (yes, again) Perelman, a lawyer. It's one of those narrations that continue to appear throughout the film and never seem intrusive; a perfectly displayed element that you wouldn't if it were used all the time.
Ariel, played by Daniel Hendler (yes, again), tells us about his father Perelman Sr. (a great Arturo Goetz), also a lawyer; and his, when we meet her, future wife Sandra (a brilliant Julieta Diaz). Again here, as we are used to with Burman, there's no more defined story than a father/son relationshio; we just see life as it is. As we become familiar with this family and their daily routine, we start sensing Burman's presence differently. There are doors that open and lead to somewhere other than the expected place, like if the characters refuse to see the real location; connection between scenes and repetitions of some frames. Cinematographer Ramiro Civita (from "Whisky Romeo Zulu") takes it so seriously that we feel a change.
It's very strange that Civita didn't work again with the director in "El nido vacío", which really seems to present a continuity of the visual style in this film. But what about the humor in "Derecho de Familia"? Don't forget that Burman is also a gifted writer and-I repeat it proudly-he manages to stand far away from the religious scenarios and traditions that made us laugh unexpectedly in previous pieces. Here, we laugh because of the mere personality of the characters, because of what they say in a masterfully shot lunch conversation and because there's a little kid named Gastón (played by Burman's son) that wins everyone's heart.
The pallet of characters Burman presents here is richer than ever and it's wonderful to listen to Ariel telling us how he won Sandra's heart, because we could never imagine them together. Actually, we could never imagine Ariel with someone, just like two of his students tell him more directly than indirectly when they see him in a bar with his son.
Anyone who says Daniel Hendler always does the same thing is being completely unfair. Yes, he has a preference for introverted roles, but his Ariel here has nothing to do with his Ariel of "El abrazo partido", or with his Ezequiel of "El fondo del mar" for that matter. However, it's true that Hendler has difficulties when it comes to chemistry with female co-protagonists. This is why Julieta Díaz' performance succeeds on its own, as Hendler's; because they are fantastic actors.
There's drama too in "Derecho de Familia", as we could expect from Burman, but this time it represents the weaker part of the whole. You see, one of the great qualities of Burman as a director is that he works hard to achieve the balance between what everyone will definitely like and a few risks. The price to pay is that some things become predictable.
Luckily, nothing ever ceases to be believable.
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