It’s important to get your audience’s attention in a movie’s first scene and Chinese Take-away from Argentina certainly does that. Somewhere in China a man called Jun (Ignacio Huang) is in the middle of a tender moment when something large and mooing interrupts him, improbably and spectacularly. When next we see Jun he is being thrown out of a taxi in the middle of Buenos Aires and attracting the attention of a grouchy hardware-store owner called Roberto (Ricardo Darin). Jun has no money and doesn’t speak Spanish but he has an address tattooed on his arm. Against his better judgment, Roberto takes it upon himself to help Jun and to find out what on earth he’s doing in South America.
Written and directed by Sebastian Borensztein, Chinese Take-away is essentially a character study of Roberto, who is emotionally repressed and so obsessed with order and regimentation that he’ll count the number of screws in a box and complain to the manufacturer if there’s one or two missing. An unexplained foreigner staying in his house is the last thing he wants, but maybe it’s what he needs to bring him out of his shell and help him come to terms with some of the demons of his past. This sweet little tragicomedy about life’s absurdities plays out as a buddy movie in which two damaged men from opposite sides of the world find unexpected common ground.