Minimal Stories

Film

Time Out says

The modesty of the title isn't misplaced. Indeed, one of its three intertwined micro narratives is so slight as to be almost negligible. Ironically, it's the one that sprang most immediately from the director's inspiration, a trip through the steppes of Patagonia to film a local television game show. María Flores (Bravo) is a young peasant mother, dumbstruck at winning an invitation on to 'Multicoloured Casino', and the promise of a prize multi-processor. Making the same 200-mile journey to San Julián in parallel is Don Justo (Benedictti), former proprietor of the local petrol station, following a tip that his long lost dog is now hanging out there. Our third wayfarer is travelling salesman Roberto (Lombardo), a font of modern improvisation and persuasion techniques who turns out to have as precarious a hold on his self-assurance as any of us. His plan is to escort a surprise birthday cake to the son of a young widowed client. The film has a bashfulness that's right in line with its characters' smalltime, world's-end aura of quiescent ephemerality. Of various light ironies at play, the most redolent is the contrast of character and landscape. In classical Hollywood such photogenic wide plains would confer a grandeur and dynamism, but these folk look humbly stranded.

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