La Leon (3 stars)

La Leon

(15) 78min

There’s a formal rigour to so many of the films coming out of Argentina that it’s a pity many of them – Lucretia, Martel and Lisandro, Alonso excepted – haven’t worked through the subtle storytelling elements that they still feel obliged to utilise. Like other recent works Born and Bred and XXY, La León really knows how to bring a sense of meditative enquiry to the image. The shot isn’t there simply to further plot, it has a time and place all its own.

Unfortunately, at a certain point here the strength of the image gives way to weakness of plot: here the gay central character working in the jungles in a remote region of Argentina gets harassed by the dastardly owner of the boat of the title, melodramatic elements that seem to counter the pace of the film. Yet, this is another fine work from a national cinema of immense interest.

La León

  • 2006
  • Argentina/France
  • 1h 25min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Santiago Otheguy
  • Written by: Santiago Otheguy
  • Cast: Jorge Román, Daniel Valenzuela

El Turu (Valenzuela) is the fiery captain of a boat that links the remote communities of traditional reed cutters in the Parana Delta of Northern Argentina. He bullies one of the workers, Alvaro (Román) as much for his love of books as for his homosexuality. A fine portrait of both the watery landscape and the sequestered…

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