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I can tell when a film is a first work; from a first time director. I don't know how you can tell that, but I know that Argentine first time directors usually choose common things for their films. I'm saying common for an Argentinian like myself. Jewish directors write scripts about Jewish families in their typical environment.
Daniel Burman directed "El Abrazo Partido", the most recognized among the films he did about his Jewish origins but with other characters in the story lines. What highlighted in each of Burman's films was the presence of the great Uruguayan actor Daniel Hendler and the fact that his main characters were always called Ariel.
Coincidentally, Ariel Winograd's picture main character is also named Ariel (as himself) and I believe his script contains an obvious reference to Burman when his name is mentioned during one scene. Ariel is played by a child actor named Sebastián Montagna, who appears as the main character in the plot, while not being the main actor of the film. Ariel has many friends of his age and they all live in a private neighborhood; a place where the popular kids mess with guys like Ariel and his friends.
Meanwhile, Ariel walks the streets with his friends and encounters his grandfather (the legendary Juan Manuel Tenuta): "How many times do you masturbate in one day?", he asks them. The grandfather character will have his moments, as will all of the characters in a brilliant screenplay where everyone gets a chance to shine.
Yesterday I read an interview made to two young actors of an enormous talent and a promising future ahead of them. Martin Piroyanski and Nahuel Pérez Biscayart; both of them star in "Cara de Queso": the first one as Ariel's brother David, a sports genius with a difficult girlfriend, the latter one as Felman, a nerd rejected by Ariel and his friends and crazy in love for Ariel's sister. In the interview, both actors appear so intelligent and their characters here demonstrate that intelligence as they cover their different faces.
Unlike many first time directors (Pablo Trapero with "El bonaerense", Carlos Sorín with "El Perro", Adrián Caetano with "Piza, Birra y Faso"), Winograd's casting includes actors we all know. Not only familiar but also terrific actors, like Mercedes Morán, Carlos Santamaría, the young Julieta Zylberberg and even Daniel Hendler as a sports man; plus the special appearances by Federico Luppi and Susú Pecoraro. All the child actors are the right choices for the peculiar beings Wingodard put on his screenplay.
In first works I look for innovation, and the cameras looking from the sky to the ceilings are really interesting. However, the screenplay is the element that makes us jump off our seats, because the behavior of the Jewish community never bores the Argentine viewer; and the unexpected endings like the one in this film never bore me.
So you must wonder After a first screenplay and a first film like this one, probably about his own life; what will be the next thing on Wigodard's mind? I certainly hope something original and luckily different from this gem.
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