The title character (María Villar) in Matías Piñeiro’s magical, mysterious romantic comedy is the young co-owner of a DVD piracy company: Her boyfriend downloads the movies, she rides around Buenos Aires delivering the product. In her travels, she happens upon an all-woman theater troupe performing William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night—whose protagonist is also Viola, shipwrecked maiden and cross-dressing romantic intermediary. Like her fictional counterpart, the real-world Viola is lost in love and in life. Yet the disguises this character wears are more of the existential sort—fears about relationships, regrets about paths not taken register in every slow, subtle shift of Villar’s expressive face.
Piñeiro unearths every bit of thought and feeling contained in this mercurial feature’s brief running time, from the melancholy images of Viola pedaling her bike through the city to the free rein he gives his mostly female ensemble to create memorably individuated characters. (A brilliant rehearsal scene between two troupe members—very Rivette-like in its conception and execution—suggests depths of emotion that go far beyond the words being read.) Moreover, the story doesn’t climax in all’s-well-that-ends-well matrimony, instead building to a beautifully bittersweet moment of self-realization, one with a light-touch profundity that would make the Bard proud.
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