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Israel Adrián Caetano
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In 1967 Buenos Aires, eight year old Valentín lives alone with his poor widowed paternal grandmother. He has not seen his mother since he was three. His grandmother tells him that his mother was unfaithful to his father. Regardless, Valentín still misses her. His womanizing father, Vincente, is on the most part absent as a traveling salesman, he who seems more concerned about his own fortunes than sending money home to take care of his mother and son. Valentín has dreams like most young boys, his primary one being to become an astronaut. He believes the work that he does building rocket models and space suits will assist the NASA space program, and he does whatever he can, such as walk around in heavy shoes to simulate zero gravity and hold his breath underwater, in his pursuit of becoming an astronaut, despite being slightly cross-eyed and near-sighted, which he believes will not hinder his chances. But without really realizing it, he wants more than anything to be part of a nuclear ...Written by
Valentin, the young boy living in the Buenos Aires of the sixties, is a kid that is more mature than what his tender age shows. He is articulate, wise and knows a lot about the life of the astronauts he hears about. In fact, he has built a lot of facsimiles of the space ships and even has his own version of a space suit.
What Valentin doesn't have is parents. We see him living with his older grandmother in a residential area of the capital. There isn't much money, so their lives are not exactly what one might call it even middle class. Yet, the grandmother is a loving woman that cares intensely for her little charge. It's never clear what happened between the parents, but it appears Valentin's mother was abused by the womanizer husband.
Alejandro Agresti's film, which he also wrote, was shown briefly in a commercial run here, but disappeared quickly, so we never got around to it. It came as a total surprise when it was shown in one of the cable channels in its original version.
The film is worth seeing because of Rodrigo Noya, the sweet Valentin of the film. Valentin is the narrator of the story. He amazes us with the way he looks at things and his understanding of what's going on around him. This young actor made an excellent contribution to the film without ever being bratty. Our hearts go to the poor little boy that fate has abandoned and is even lonelier after the sudden death of the grandmother.
Carmen Maura, as the grandmother, is a joy to watch. She plays a Spaniard who has emigrated to Argentina. Julieta Cardinali is seen briefly as Leticia, a beautiful blonde woman who Valentin would like to be his new mother, hoping his father will marry her. When the relationship ends, Valentin is miserable, but Leticia, seeing the goodness and loneliness of the young boy stays by him. Mex Urtizberea plays Rufo, the pianist neighbor who is kind to Valentin.
"Valentin" was a surprise that brought joy and fun at the same time.
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