Thursday, 15 December 2011

Review: Las Acacias

Rating: 12a
Duration: 82 mins

In the event of winning the Caméra d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival, Pablo Giorgelli's low-key story of a lonely South American trucker was never going to penetrate the mainstream market, but seems to have made a dent amongst the critics.

Starring Germán de Silva as long distance trucker Rubén, one day he picks up a pre-arranged 'special cargo' on his journey from Asunción del Paraguay to Buenos Aires in the form of Jacinta (Hebe Duarte) with an unexpected addition of her small baby. 

The film plays out as a road movie, albeit it a subtle and, for the most part, silent one. Giorgelli insists on stripping the narrative to its bare bones, presenting us with delicately drawn out shots that offer real-time observations on the characters and the world around them. The extreme subtlety works in gradually layering a relationship between the two as it becomes difficult not to be swept along with the boiling passion and sadness buried within Rubén.

Tonally the narrative offers little in entertainment in the traditional sense. We see a mere exploration of human emotion and minimal interaction eloquently progresses as their trip does, but at an ultra slow pace: the lingering glances, prolonged interior car shots, the painstakingly slow pans all make it feel much longer than the 82 minute running time suggest.

The semi-nonchalant performances won't capture everyone's imagination, let alone attention, as Las Acacias has to be described as the ultimate slow burner, yet it's delightfully charming and inevitably rather touching, especially in its conclusion.

VERDICT: One of the most pleasant aspects of this is the inclusion of baby Anahi, in what is essentially a love story, as the toddler offers a charming and likeable addition to the tension and frequent silence of the adults, rendering Las Acacias an interesting film that won't suit all tastes, but suffices as an alternative choice.