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The Dark Side of the Heart (1992)

El lado oscuro del corazón (original title)
Oliveiro is a young poet living in Buenos Aires where sometimes he has to sell his ideas to an advertising agency to make a living or exchange his poems for a steak. In Montevideo, he meets... See full summary »


Eliseo Subiela


Mario Benedetti (poems), Juan Gelman (poems) | 2 more credits »
12 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Darío Grandinetti ... Oliverio
Sandra Ballesteros Sandra Ballesteros ... Ana
Nacha Guevara ... La Muerte
André Mélançon ... Erik
Jean Pierre Reguerraz Jean Pierre Reguerraz ... Gustavo
Mónica Galán ... La ex esposa
Inés Vernengo Inés Vernengo ... La ciega
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marisa Aguilera Marisa Aguilera ... Bigotuda
Hugo Arana
Mariana Baranchuk Mariana Baranchuk ... Amiga Ana
Claudia Bedacarratz Claudia Bedacarratz ... Mendiga
Mario Benedetti ... Poeta Aleman
Jesús Berenguer Jesús Berenguer ... Publicitario 1
Pablo Brichta Pablo Brichta ... Novio
Silvina Chaine Silvina Chaine ... Mujeres cabaret


Oliveiro is a young poet living in Buenos Aires where sometimes he has to sell his ideas to an advertising agency to make a living or exchange his poems for a steak. In Montevideo, he meets a prostitute, Ana, with whom he falls in love. Back in Buenos Aires, he accepts a contract with a publicity agency to get the money for three days of love with her. Will he get what he's searching for when his ideal of love's pleasure is literally going in levitation while making love? Written by Jean-Marie Berthiaume <jiembe@videotron.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Romance | Drama


R | See all certifications »



Argentina | Canada


Spanish | German

Release Date:

9 September 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dark Side of the Heart See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Official submission of Argentina for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 65th Academy Awards in 1993. When the Oscar nominations came out it was overlooked in favor of A Place in the World (1992) (A Place in the World) which was later the only film in Academy Awards history to have been removed from the final ballot. See more »


Oliverio: The ball I threw while playing in the park has not yet reached the ground
Oliverio: I don't give a damn if if her skin feels like a peach or sandpaper It's irrelevant. if she wakes up with breath like an aphrodisiac or an insecticide. I'm perfectly willing to put up with a nose that'd win first prize at a carrot show. But on one thing I am intransigent. On no account whatsoever will I forgive a woman who cannot fly. If she can't,she'd better forget me.
See more »


Referenced in Don't Die Without Telling Me Where You're Going (1995) See more »


Saltzburg Symphomy No. 1
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

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User Reviews

Death and the poet
31 December 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

If not for anything else, Eliseo Subiela's "El lado oscuro del corazon" will introduce the casual viewer to the poetry of Mario Benedetti, Juan Gelman, Oliverio Girondo as well as the director's own compositions. Eliseo Subiela is one of the best Argentine directors of all times, as this 1992 film clearly demonstrates.

Oliverio, the taciturn man we meet at the beginning of the film, takes us on a trip to Montevideo where, one night, he meets the exotic Ana in a night club where prostitutes gather. It's clear the mutual attraction Oliverio and Ana feel toward one another the moment they set their eyes on each other. It appears that, at last, Oliverio has found the elusive woman who can fly with him. These two souls make love, but Ana, being a hooker, reminds Oliverio his time is up. What is even better, Oliverio, an amateur poet, meets his match in Ana, who loves and knows the texts he recites to her as a way of introduction.

Oliverio has had his share of lovers. We see him making love to beautiful women, but none of them qualify as the one to fulfill his life. In a comic touch, Oliverio's bed is divided in two and when he finds a woman is not for him, he rings a bell in the night table and the other half of the bed opens up and the victim falls to an abyss.

In order to survive, Oliverio free lances as well as write poetry which he and his two buddies, Erik and Gustavo trade for food to the friendly restaurant owner who loves to recite the poems to his fiancée. Oliverio is seen walking at night, as well as when he travels to Montevideo when he feels the urge to see Ana, and has long debates with a woman clad in black who is Death personified.

One thing is clear, Oliverio can't have Ana, as she cleverly reminds him. Ana can't afford to be too generous with anyone. Ana obviously loves Oliverio, but she has other priorities that are only revealed at the end of the film. One of the best sequences in the film involves an erotic art exhibit by Erik that is not to be believed.

Dario Grandinetti, the great Argentine actor, plays Oliverio with equal parts of charm and mystery. Mr. Grandinetti makes an invaluable contribution to the success of the film. He is the main reason for watching this forgotten film that is full of poetry and magic. Sandra Ballesteros is seen as Ana. Ms. Ballesteros is an equal match to Mr. Grandinetti. Nacha Guevara plays Death with panache. Ms. Guevara, who is one of the best cabaret and performance artists of Argentina, is a huge talent that Mr. Subiela utilizes to the best results in the movie. As Oliverio's buddies, Andre Melancon and Jean Pierre Reguerraz are perfect.

The popular music by Mario Clavel, Osvaldo Montes, Chico Novarro and Fito Paez blend perfectly in the movie's atmosphere. The dark cinematography by Hugo Colace adds another dimension in our enjoyment of the film. Ultimately, this is Eliseo Subiela's triumph in a movie that is not only beautiful to look at, but to listen to the great poetry the director brings to it for our pleasure.

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