Film note: La León (2007)

Rating: 5 stars

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Watched on 2013-10-11

Originally published on Letterboxd here: https://boxd.it/1RqaV

The perfect melding of the individual contributions from actors, director, cinematographer & composer of this first feature by Santiago Otheguy from Argentina is, well, uncanny. Perhaps what’s most uncanny is a haunting & indelible sense of place — out of time, out of contemporary social life in the Paraná delta — conveyed via a B&W visual style that reminded me of faded tintypes. It’s an exploration of the persistence of, and loyalty to memory and tradition in a present without forward movement, but not without desire.

La león should belong on any shortlist of recent great films from South America. The sexuality of the main character is not merely incidental, however, nor does it provide a “universal” point of audience identification. Instead, main character Alvaro’s need to remain secret, and his own sense of belonging. of needing to belong in and to his community, allows a unique entry point to exploring this riverine community, in which staying in the closet represents a kind of respect for the past.

Click here for my full review.

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