Eliseo Subiela is one of the most interesting directors working in the Argentine cinema today. That said, this movie will not add anything to his resume because it doesn't measure up to the standard in which Mr. Subiela has accustomed us to expect. The main problem is that the director, who also wrote the screenplay, goes from one mood to another at the expense of not making much sense.
Mabel and Martin are two independent souls from two different walks of life in the Argentine society. While Mabel is dirt poor, Martin comes from class and privilege. One is willing to make concessions, but this is not a credible idea from the start. The other obnoxious element in the movie is the voice over narration by a toneless announcer that gives the viewer a preview of what each date signifies.
Mabel was raped by a neighbor at the local chapel. Her family goes from making a living, to ending in despair as three of her brothers are afflicted by different problems. With the help of an obese transvestite she becomes a clown. Not content with that, she becomes a prostitute. Martin, who we see getting married, at the beginning of the film, grows more unhappy each day at his father's law firm. His passion is playing the saxophone and listening to old Billie Holiday's recordings. When they finally meet, Mabel and Martin appear to have it finally gotten it together, but Mabel comes down with a case of AIDS that is promptly diagnosed and treated. Will they be able to overcome all these emotional obstacles? Stay tuned for the next installment in the soap opera of their lives.
We did enjoy Sofia Gala as Mabel. She seems to be a natural; she will go far if she chooses her roles wisely. Working with Subiela will help, no doubt, as it is a step in the right direction. Guillermo Pfening, who plays Martin doesn't impress as much as Ms. Gala. We were hoping to see more of Norma Argentina, who is seen as Mabel's mother, but it wasn't meant to be. Ms. Argentina is the equivalent of Lupe Ontiveros, in the American cinema. She is always a welcome presence in anything she appears.
While technically the film can not be faulted, we feel that perhaps Mr. Subiela was not at his most inspired this time around.
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