Thursday, March 22, 2012

Las Acacias (2011)

Las Acacias (2011)
Las Acacias (2011)

Genre: Drama
Director: Pablo Giorgelli
Starring: Germán de Silva, Hebe Duarte, Mayra Calle Mamani
Language: Spanish
Duration: 82 min.
Rating: 7.7  

Rubén is a lonely truck driver who has been driving the motorway between Asunción del Paraguay to Buenos Aires for 30 years carrying wood. However, today's journey will be different.

Las Acacias is the debut feature film from director Pablo Giorgelli, co-written with Salvador Roselli. It premiered in the International Critics' Week section of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival winning the festival's Caméra d'Or award for Best First Feature Film.

A quick piece of advice, if you are planning on watching this film, for best results stop reading now, and don't even watch the trailer. It is definitely best to go into it knowing as little as possible.

Las Acacias (2011)

A slow moving road movie unlike any I've ever seen, Las Acacias unfolds almost entirely within the near silent cab of a truck along the 1,500 kilometer route between Asunción and Buenos Aires. Driven by Rubén (Germán de Silva), a steely middle aged trucker who reluctantly offers a lift to a young woman, (Hebe Duarte) and her five month old baby (Nayra Calle Mamani) as a favor for his boss.

Giorgelli captures their journey with a deft touch. Using no music, a minimal amount of dialog, and close quarters cinematography with just the right variety of angles so that it doesn't feel claustrophobic, he crafts a pleasing story from an exceedingly simple scenario. One that plays out with a number of tiny but wonderful moments that come to life with some remarkably natural performances from the entire cast. I don't know how many takes it required to pull it off, but even the spontaneous reactions of the baby seemed always to be perfectly on cue.

Las Acacias (2011)

It's a film that subverts all of our expectations of a road movie. There are no unexpected detours or break-downs, no humorous encounters with quirky side characters. No throwaway anecdotes that reveal great significance at the end.

It does require a certain amount of patience from the viewer, because despite it's short length, the director does an incredible job of recreating the experience of riding in that truck for several hours. Fortunately he knows just when to give us a break from the monotony of the highway, with well timed stops along the way.

By the end, it does feel as if we've been taken on a long journey, but it is a genuinely rewarding one. Not a profound masterpiece, but a fine debut that is well deserving of the festival accolades it has received. Pablo Giorgelli is surely a name to watch out for in the future.

Bonjour Tristesse

Las Acacias (2011)

Las Acacias (2011)

Las Acacias (2011)

Las Acacias (2011)

Las Acacias (2011)

Las Acacias (2011)


The Angry Lurker said...

You've sold this road movie quite well....

FrontRoomCinema said...

Will you stop reviewing films I really want to see.. I missed this twice last year at 2 festivals. I am gutted!!

NeverTooEarlyMP said...

Great review. Sounds like it is a film that looks at real life more than the movie make believe we've come to expect so often.

d_4 said...

Well, it's kinda too late for the trailer. But I stopped reading because the trailer was enough to get me interested. Thanks!

365 moviesandsongs365 said...

Sounds promising winning that award a year ago at Cannes! Hopefully I will be able to see it sooner rather than later. Debut feature films can be special. I will follow your advice and not read your review or watch the trailer  

Jack Deth said...

Hi, Bonjour and company:

I'm getting a toned down vibe of 'Sorcerer' from the clip. More of a road trip than a dangerous mission. And that's a good thing.

Good looking trailer that doesn't tip the film's hand and thumbnail it in under two minutes. That's a better thing.

May have to look for this one on those points alone.

PS: I've guest reviews at FRC and 'FlixChatter;. All are invited to drop by, peruse and opine.

G said...

Nice concept for a road movie... I've always wondered how monotonous a truck driving job can be...

Bonjour Tristesse said...

 Thanks Lurker!

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Well I stopped for a little while but now I'm back!

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Well sort of. You'll have to see it to find out.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

 That's OK. It doesn't really spoil anything. It's just that a lot of the magic is in how everything slowly unfolds.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

 Cool. I also hope you get a chance to see this one soon.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks Jack.  I'm not familiar with that one so I'll have to take your word for it.

I'll have a look at those posts when I get the chance.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

 That is one point that the director definitely gets across here.

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