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Lake Tahoe
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Lake Tahoe -- A story of a teenager and the strange events that take place in his small town.


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Fernando Eimbcke (screenplay)
Paula Markovitch (screenplay)
View company contact information for Lake Tahoe on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 July 2008 (France) See more »
A story of a teenager and the strange events that take place in his small town. | Add synopsis »
10 wins & 7 nominations See more »
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 (From IFC. 5 May 2009, 1:32 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Lake Tahoe (2008 movie, unrated) See more (18 total) »


  (in credits order)

Diego Cataño ... Juan
Hector Herrera ... Don Heber
Daniela Valentine ... Lucia
Juan Carlos Lara II ... David
Yemil Sefami ... Joaquin
Olda López ... David's mother
Mariana Elizondo ... Mother of Juan and Joaquín
Joshua Habid ... Fidel
Raquel Araujo ... Arturo's mother
Enrique Albor ... Owner of blue car
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Noemi Landaverde ... Child
Pedro Stepanenko ... Juan's Father
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Directed by
Fernando Eimbcke 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Fernando Eimbcke  screenplay
Paula Markovitch  screenplay

Produced by
Adrian Orozco .... assistant producer
Jaime Bernardo Ramos .... executive producer
Christian Valdelièvre .... producer
Cinematography by
Alexis Zabe 
Film Editing by
Mariana Rodríguez 
Art Direction by
Diana Quiroz 
Set Decoration by
Joaquín de la Riva 
Production Management
Mario Martínez .... post-production supervisor
Linda Ramos .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Esteban Arrangoiz .... second assistant director
Mariana Silva .... first assistant director
Art Department
Armando Patino .... graphics
Diego Suárez Groult .... graphic designer
Sound Department
Raul Atondo .... sound mixer assistant
Antonio Diego .... sound mixer
Lena Esquenazi .... sound designer
Miguel Hernández .... dialogue editor
Miguel Hernández .... sound re-recording mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Daniel Valdes .... first assistant camera
Editorial Department
Adriana Martínez .... first assistant editor
Other crew
Jorge Jacome .... production accountant
Mario P. Székely .... publicist
Alesia Weston .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:89 min | Germany:85 min (Berlin International Film Festival) | Argentina:89 min (Mar del Plata Film Festival)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Argentina:13 | Sweden:Btl | Switzerland:10 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:10 (canton of Vaud) | UK:12A
Filming Locations:


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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
Lake Tahoe (2008 movie, unrated), 3 November 2010
Author: Rizar from United States

"Lake Tahoe" is a wonderful, placid drama about a boy's strange encounters as he, externally, seeks help to fix his car, but, more to the point, as he internally seeks something (to escape, to cope, to get reassurance) after the death of his father. He seems willing to befriend the people he meets as long as he chooses the terms himself, and as long as performing favors or going out with friends gets him away from home or anything that would tie him to his town. Don't expect action in this little personal odyssey (taking place over the course of a single day). The viewer gets a chance to focus as intensely on the day's weird experiences as Juan (a teenager experiencing his father's death) does. Even if only for as long as Juan searches for answers.

Fernando Eimbcke's film is shot and takes place in Puerto Progreso, Yucatán (Mexico), a mostly vacant, small town. Juan (Diego Cataño) meets a couple auto mechanics and a clueless auto receptionist, and checks in with his little brother and his grieving mother (she's locked herself in a bathroom for much of the movie). The viewers mainly see him walk across the screen for several long shots, some of which recur as he retreads his path this way and that way.

Nearly every scene is shot with motionless camera angles, a huge difference from many movies in which the camera constantly moves, zooms, or shakes to the point of nausea. The effect of this odd camera work is to make the whole background become part of the film. Patient viewers may get absorbed in the movie, especially as all the individual shots start adding up to a meaningful story. Most of the eventful action takes place off camera, during frequent cut to blacks (sometimes with important sounds in the background, plain natural-musical sounds, or silence). The film has a sense of immersion and simplicity in which the viewer fills the missing fragments with sound or their imagination.

We aren't given much information about where he wants to go or where he was going when he crashed his family's car into a pole (on the side of a low traffic road). How did he crash it in such a seemingly straight and hazard-less area? The point is probably that Juan is just as uncertain as the viewer. He has no ready explanation for the car crash, but perhaps he was trying to get away or somehow escape his intense feelings after his loss. We only learn about any of these feelings until a good way into the movie.

He seems mostly passive at first, just taking in the oddly tangential actions of the people he meets, but he intermittently prods them to hurry. Juan seems stuck between a desire to get out of these places he visits (to always find another auto mechanic) and a strange fixation on experiencing the little quirks of the people he meets. His motive to get away usually wins.

Juan often says "no" or shakes his head in the negative to requests. Juan meets an elderly auto mechanic, Don Heber (played by Hector Herrera), who makes the boy wait as he eats breakfast with his dog, Sica. He goes on to the next person after Don fails to help him fix his car. Juan waits even longer for a young mechanic, David (Juan Carlos Lara II), an energetic follower of martial arts who is apt to break into a series of kicks and arm movements (turning martial arts moves into a sort of dance) and Bruce Lee reenactments. As he hangs out with Lucia (Daniela Valentine), the receptionist at David's auto shop, she starts to trust him and asks him to babysit her infant while she goes to a concert. He declines several times.

Many such encounters play out. David's mother wants him to comment on a passage from the Bible (he sneaks out of the house), Don wants him to walk his dog (Juan accepts only very reluctantly, loses the dog, and then childishly goes on to the next auto mechanic), and David wants him to go to a Bruce Lee movie (he declines at first).

He only accepts any of these offers after he has time to think them over and make his own choice, or perhaps only after he gets home and finds he wants to get away again (perhaps it has to do with the place reminding him of his father). And then these requests for favors and friendship suddenly become the perfect thing to go do.

An excellent, climactic scene takes place between Jaun and Lucia after she isn't able to go to a concert. Jaun doesn't need to stay on as a babysitter and seems intent to leave, but, again, he seems needy at the same time. Lucia takes advantage of his indecision with a sexual advance (they take off their shirts), but he uses it as a cathartic chance for release and ends up crying on her. Probably not what she had in mind, but a very well done scene in minimal, natural light. The rest of the film is also shot with just natural lighting.

Juan is an interesting case study in loss (partly autobiographical by the director) in that it leaves Juan's motives mysterious for the viewer to figure out. Juan tries to escape from everything that holds him in place. But he overcomes such desires in a rush of emotional release. The film leaves me with the feeling that the journey was much more interesting than any likely consequence to it. The post emotional release period sort of kills all the meaningful possibilities and mysterious encounters that took place for most of the film.

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