Sunday, April 22, 2012

Anarchy in Argentina: A Week Alone (2008)*****

Reviewed by Shu Zin

A WEEK ALONE is an Argentinean gem whose surface is well-faceted, but not highly polished. It has a very consistent, charged atmosphere that is subtle and sometimes hilarious. Lots and lots of adolescent energy and intensity turn it into something a little ominous. Maria is a 23 year old staying with her cousins to take care of them and the hacienda while the wealthy parents (who never appear in this drama) are away for a couple of weeks' vacation.

Kids are left behind, under-supervised, to get into some interesting mischief in the gated community they call home. When Maria's brother Juan Fernando arrives unexpectedly, the dynamics change, and one senses instantly there's trouble to come. Actually, although the kids carry it over the top and probably would have continued to escalate their daring little adventures here, the sense of utter gloom that settles like a pall over them all struck me as oddly familiar. 

While I didn't go as far as these ones do, I think we've all felt that sense of despair and dread when our chickens come home to roost. Director Celina Murga does a fine job of observing mundane, ad-libbed chatter and weaving it into an increasingly dark slice of life. The ending, the last five minutes are simply brilliant. Droll, too. A portrait of gloom I shan't soon forget. I loved this movie, and I'd recommend it to anyone patient and adventurous. Happy to see they've acquired some new Argentinean films here. They are usually sophisticated, surprising, fresh and captivating.

Reviewed by Shu Zin

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