Mar Del Plata

By 15 March, 2014

Like free range chickens, freed up from their hen-house by a hole in the netting, also Joaquin and David have been set free from their city, family and sentimental troubles by a stroke of luck. In their case, the lucky break is a lottery ticket, the one that Joaquin’s father has rigorously played for 26 years, which gives them the chance to release themselves from their burdens.

A “mini-viaje”, a weekend to Mar Del Plata (the favourite beach destination for porteños, just few hours from Buenos Aires), is their way of escape from a failed marriage and one about to fail, from their unaccomplished lives and from their harboured sense of frustration.

But, their vacation is also a rare occasion to travel through their memories: two old friends who have almost lost each other, finally able to enjoy some time-off together. And, despite the time that has passed, their love-hate relationship seems to have never changed.

On another car, on the same road, driving on the 400km that separate Buenos Aires from Mar Del Plata, there are Lautaro and Elena. Once a happily married couple, they have gone through a bumpy period and are now looking forward to enjoying some time together to get their relation back on its feet.

It just so happens that Lautaro is, in his opinion, a successful writer well-known by both Joaquin and David; while Elena is the ex-girlfriend of Joaquin who has left him years before because she was no more in love with him. It just so happens that the four chance upon each other in a short while.

The necessary elements for a “comedy of errors” are all served. And, with the addition of some off-the-cuff funny gags that run alongside the plot, the story flows smoothly, remaining gripping throughout its 90 minutes.

The credit has also to go to two easy-going, remarkable protagonists (Pablo G. Pérez and Gabriel Zayat), to some memorable lines and to that air laden with saltiness, which permeates through the movie. For example, the restaurant scene, the one in ode to the brotula, is a tasty masterpiece of visual synaesthesia. Mar Del Plata, which is the first behind-the-camera work of the duo Ionathan Klajman and Sebastián Dietsch, sets itself on the thin line between late adolescence and adulthood.

It works with stereotyped characters, easily recognisable and in which it’s easy to identify. But, at the same time, they are also unresolved figures and their condition is further blurred by the development of the plot.

The choices they have previously made are now continually called into question. Their lives literally fall apart like a torn up piece of paper. And yet, these failures are nothing else than starting points for new ways. Like chickens that are finally free from their coop.

Mar Del Plata is screening at the ¡Viva! 20th Spanish and Latin American Film Festival on Sunday 16th March.

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