Las Acacias20 March, 2012
Las Acacias is a film in which the plot alone does not represent the film. Which is a good thing, as the story of an Argentine truck driver who gives a Paraguayan women and her child a lift to Buenos Aires does not in itself sound too promising. Where Las Acacias succeeds is in the moments and relationship that builds during this journey, and which results in the film being one of the most charming of the year.
Germán de Silva plays Rubén, a truck driver who has agreed to give an anonymous lady a lift from Paraguay to Buenos Aires. When he meets Jacinta, his passenger-to-be, and finds out that she is with her infant daughter his demeanour worsens considerably from what was already a begrudging sense of duty. What follows is a taut relationship with Rubén constantly looking for a way in which to lose his new passengers, and where silence is the predominant form of communication. At this point it would be understandable if you were concerned about where this film is going. Will this sense of awkwardness and solitude remain or will the relationship between Rubén and his passengers grow? Thankfully it does the latter and from that point on, a warmth slowly builds into the story that leaves you gripped until the final scenes.
As Rubén begins to open up to Jacinta, discussing his own family, and playing with her daughter Anahí in the quieter moments on the road, he subconsciously begins to leave behind his loneliness, which is ultimately what this film is all about. It’s a theme that director Pablo Giorgelli – in his first feature – has dealt with first hand, and which he has found a perfect conduit in the form of Rubén, a man in one of the loneliest professions around. His stoicism is perfectly augmented by the gentle nature of Jacinta (amazingly played by Hebe Duarte in her first film) and Anahí, whose timing belies the fact that he is just a baby.
Much of their relationship takes place in the truck’s cabin, with the film’s makers using the cabin’s lack of space to create tension at times, while at others using it’s high position and surfeit of mirrors as a great way for Rubén or Jacinta to look out at the world around them. Generally speaking the cabin acts as the ultimate acid test as to the state of their relationship, it’s confines making it impossible for Rubén to hide from his emotions.
Las Acacias is so charming that it even manages to pull off a happy ending, that in other hands or in other pictures could seem like Hollywood schlock. Throughout the film, it’s gentle warmth hides a real sense of pain and loneliness, but that never becomes too visceral. By balancing this dichotomy Pablo Giorgelli proves himself an extremely intelligent and emotionally-charged director, and one who has produced one of the films of the year in Las Acacias.
Read our interview with Las Acacias director Pablo Giorgelli here.
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