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El Angel (2018)
Almost a masterpiece
10 October 2018
"People are crazy" is the first thing we heard from Carlitos at the start of "El Ángel". He too. His is an ordinary madness ("natural born chorro") but when he crosses with Ramón and his family will begin a story of love, dementia and death that has as a backdrop the dictatorship of Lanusse (1971). Moving like a fish in the water within the coordinates of the commercial cinema, Luis Ortega composes a fascinating film, a huge poetry (which at times borders the surrealism of Buñuel or Favio) and an impeccable actor´s direction. Two hours full of anthological scenes, lines of dialogue to remember, motorcycles, girls, weapons, vinyls, motels and cigarette smoke. The blood is few because the shots go through the daring lines of dialogue between the characters. Everything that in "History of a Clan" was lynchean perversion and obscurity becomes pop insanity here, mounted on a musical cavalcade that astutely emphasizes every moment and includes La Joven Guardia, Pappo's Blues, Manal, Gigliola Cinquetti, Leonardo Favio, Piazzolla, variations on Charlie Parker, Johnny Tedesco and -of course- King Palito Ortega (father of the director) in two very moving moments of the plot. Lorenzo Ferro debuts before the camera without any previous experience in the performance. He has the face, the gesture and the intensity of a cinematographic animal and holds the entire film with his adolescent androgyny. Chino Darin once more demonstrates that - well managed - he can become a Pasolinian subject. In addition to his sexual magnetism a la Brando, he has a special aura to compose tragic roles. The Fanego / Morán duo is irresistibly morbid. And near the end comes a wonderful Peter Lanzani, close to the Denis Hopper of "Easy Rider" in argento mode or John Voight´s midnight cowboy walking on the streets of Buenos Aires. The photo and color correction of the duo Apezteguía / Russo moves between blood red and a stifling cyanotic. The reconstruction of the era is splendid. The film has everything to become the Panzer tank of the Argentine industry. But at the same time it's an instant classic. Chapeau Ortega.
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17 March 2015
This is truly one of the worst movies of all time. It's a musical but most of the cast can't sing a note. The fact is that they sing anyway and it's torture for your ears. That said, some of the remarkable musical moments of the play has been adapted to this out of tune voices and the results are disastrous.

Although this is a story of a revolutionary epic the director only trust in the power of Dolby theaters. He has nor a single cinematographic idea on how to develop a visual story. The abuse of wide angle is ridicule and so is the frenzy edit . It's cut, cut, cut all the time.

Eddie Redmayne is probably the only one who not only sings fine but also is a good actor with a lot of resources. The rest is forgettable, even the great Anne Hathaway, who hasn't enough time to conceive her dramatic part.
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El niño pez (2009)
Class struggle
3 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Everything is going wrong in this upper class family of Buenos Aires except the irregular love of the daughter for her Paraguayan maid. Lucia Puenzo's second opus (an adaptation from her own book) is even more audacious than her debut XXY.

Surfing through the classical genres (melodrama, thriller, sexploitation, voyage of self-discovering) she find her way to tell this poignant story of love and desire. It's also a denounce about the abuses of political power and everyday xenophobia. Superb performances from both leading ladies and the general cast, gloriously photographed and rightly directed. One of the great titles of 2009.
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7 October 2002
Bad cinematography and unimaginative work with the camera are the only insolvent aspects of this wonderful fable about the human condition. The story of an elderly, faded major cinema star locked up in her suburban house dreaming with the past while she sees her old movies could remain us the figure of Norma Desmond (Sunset Blvd). Also, there are a strange who came to the house and change the life of the four inhabitants. But this is not a film about the movies. It's about friendship and death, greed and decadence, madness and love. The black humor dominates the entire film and there are symbolic references to the `disappeared people' (the film was opened during the last military dictatorship of Argentina). The sensational cast were living legends of Argentinean cinema: Mecha Ortiz, Arturo Garcia Buhr, Mario Soficci, Narciso Ibañez Menta and Barbara Mujica. A must see (as Maltin use to said).
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Outstanding work of art
29 July 2002
One of the best Argentine films ever made an a glorious case of transposition from literature to cinema. Several flashbacks from diverse people recreates what happened before or after Rosaura -an enigmatic blonde woman- arrives at ten o'clock to some middle class small hotel of Buenos Aires. In the tradition of Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, this stunning film is a must see for those who believes that cinema, from time to time, can be classifies as an outstanding art.
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study of character
12 June 2002
Far from the bergmanesque style who gave him the reputation as one of the top ten directors of the world cinema during the sixties, this fine adaptation of Manuel Puig's serial remains as the best picture in the filmography of the last Torre Nilsson, and a superb study of women's psychology. This Peyton Place ala Argentinean way includes simulation, dissatisfaction, hypocrisy, sexual repression, pride and prejudice, macho complex and social hierarchies. Set on a small town at the pampas during the thirties and forties, the cast includes such a good performances like Alfredo Alcon, Luisina Brando, Leonor Manso, Raul Lavie and the legendary Mecha Ortiz in a small part (the gipsy). In the pivotal role of Nene, Marta Gonzalez is a miscast. Nice score.
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luxurious b/w
24 July 2001
Close to Fellini's 8 e mezzo, this is one of the major works of Allen's career: funniest, bittersweet tale about "being a celebrity". Both Charlotte Rampling and Marie Christine Barrault are beautifully shoted and directed. A must see film, nowadays more than in 1980.
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A summary of three
28 April 2001
The first hour is much more closer than Visconti's Gattopardo than others recently films: a breathtaking, sensitive, exquisite look of the protestant bourguesie of Limoges, at the beginning of the XX cenntury when "an old age" is sinked. Then, the epic turns into Bertolucci`s Novecento. But actually, the whole love story is undoubtely a genuine Truffaut. Huppert is superb, but also Berning and Beart. The camera moves in a way you've forgotten. A must see.
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stunning neorrealism
6 June 2000
Visconti at his peak. We are in the fifties, when Italian economy experiences a post-war boom. A Sicilian family arrives to Milan running from south's poverty. They dream with a new life at the industrial pole of the north. But Milan is not precisely a land of opportunities. Exploitation and xenophobia is the common destiny for those who came from south of the country. This film is a perfect sequel to "La Terra Tembla", one of the earliest Visconti's looks on Marxism. The hopes and lives of this five brother's family sink onto a pit at the same time as they destroy themselves. "Rocco and ..." is intensely played by the entire cast, including a young and delicate Alain Delon as the idealistic Rocco, an exquisite Annie Girardot as a prostitute trying to survive to her own hell and a terrific Renato Salvatori. But is the figure of the peasant mother, played superbly by Katina Paxinou, the most remarkable piece of this operatic story. Claudia Cardinale made some kind of Italian debut in this film. Nino Rota composes his most pitiful score and the black and white photography is stunning. The scene at the rooftop of Milan's Duomo is one of my all-time favorites. The American version is usually cut so try to find the original or some DVD restoration. A must see film.
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I girasoli (1970)
genuine De Sica
4 June 2000
Tremendous drama. Loren is magnificent as a woman who fights to re made his life after she descovered his missing husband/ italian soldier Mastroianni is living a new life in Kruschev's Russia. The final escene at the railway station is superb. Dont miss their face expressions. Mancini composition still sounds in my ears.
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