Las Acacias

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Never come between a man and his vehicle, especially if that fellow is Rubén (De Silva), a stoic South American truck driver with a face that looks like it was cut from the hardest granite. Rubén hauls loads of lumber between Paraguay’s capital, Asunción, and Buenos Aires, but he’s also transporting something else during his latest run—timid mother Jacinta (Duarte), who plans to start a new life in the Argentine metropolis with her baby, Anahí (Mamani). It’ll be a road trip to remember.

Pablo Giorgelli’s charming yet slight debut feature, which won the Camera d’Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, is a study in simplicity, perhaps too much so. The writer-director is working in the same patiently observant vein as Argentine confederate Lisandro Alonso (Liverpool), especially in the intriguing early scenes, where the adults communicate mostly through furtive glances and expertly modulated body language. Yet the art-house-friendly aesthetic is wed to a flimsy tale of two people looking for love that, at worst, comes off as more piddling rom-com than penetrating character study. The most manipulative touch: too many lingering close-ups of the admittedly photogenic Anahí, which force the story into treacly emotional terrain (a tale of the taciturn lummox who’s really a softie at heart) that clashes with the very real, very human rapport that De Silva and Duarte develop.

Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich

Release details

Duration: 85 mins

Cast and crew

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