6 user 6 critic

The Whore and the Whale (2004)

La puta y la ballena (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 1 April 2004 (Argentina)
A Spanish writer finds an old coffer with photographs of an Argentine man who fought and died in the Spanish Civil War, and of a woman. Her quest for answers brings Vera to the Argentine Patagonia.


Luis Puenzo
3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Leonardo Sbaraglia ... Emilio
Aitana Sánchez-Gijón ... Vera
Pep Munné ... Jordi
Mercè Llorens Mercè Llorens ... Lola
Martín Caloni Martín Caloni ... Juanito
Pompeyo Audivert ... El gringo Orestes
Miguel Ángel Solá ... Suárez
Nicolás Tognola Nicolás Tognola ... El Pibe Pedro
Belén Blanco Belén Blanco ... Matilde
Natalia Otero Natalia Otero ... Prostituta
Carola Reyna ... Meme
Lydia Lamaison ... Matilde
Óscar Guzmán Óscar Guzmán ... Urondo
Edward Nutkiewicz Edward Nutkiewicz ... Ernesto
Nina Krakoff Nina Krakoff ... Prostituta


Vera's former publisher, a Spanish journalist and writer brings her a suitcase with old photographs and letters and asks her to travel to Argentina to write a story about the man and the woman in the photos. So she goes from Madrid to Buenos Aires to Patagonia on the trail of a seventy-year-old story involving a love letter, old photographs, a whale, a bordello and Tango. There she learns that she has hereditary breast cancer, and soon after she crosses a line and suddenly she is in hospital, has already been operated upon, and determines that from now on she will do exactly as she likes. She has entered a world governed by her psychological needs, and suddenly 'coincidence' flowers around her. Written by Gary Dalkin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

User Reviews

I'm free because I was born that way
17 April 2010 | by murray-morisonSee all my reviews

One of the beauties of this film is that it is shot in a location completely different to North America. The colours and contours of South America are an extraordinary backdrop to this meditative film on what it means to be a truly free spirit. What happens to such a person if they are betrayed, in the one case by a lover and in the other case, by an illness.

A novelist, goes on an assignment to write about certain photographs from the 1930's and through a mixture of fortune and persistence comes across a tangled tale of love and betrayal from that turbulent era. Aitana Sánchez-Gijón very convincingly plays the novelist who discovers she has cancer whilst on her assignment. Gradually, through her own pain and despair, she learns the truth about La Puta, the Whore, ably depicted by Mercè Llorens. The 1930's in a remote part of Patagonia, is recreated in a way that gradually illustrates the danger that lurks in the extraordinary dance, the Argentine Tango.

This is not a perfect film but it is powerful and well worth watching. The themes of being stranded, the nature of freedom and love, weave throughout this nicely nuanced drama. "I'm not free because they let me go; I'm free because I was born that way" is one of the more powerful quotes in the film.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.


Official Sites:

Official Site [Argentina]


Argentina | Spain



Release Date:

1 April 2004 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

A Meretriz e a Baleia See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed