More small-time deadpan shenanigans from Fernando Eimbcke, the mischievous young Mexican writer/director of 2004’s Duck Season.
In a sleepy sun-baked Mexican suburb, teenage Juan (Diego Cataño) crashes the family car. Stranded and fearful of reprisal, Juan goes in search of help to fix the car. His quest leads him to a mad mechanic and his spoilt boxer dog, a young mother who is convinced that her real place in life is as a lead singer in a punk band, and to ‘The One Who Knows’, a teenage mechanic obsessed with martial arts philosophy.
Like a Buster Keaton comedy on diazepam, Juan’s absurdist journey unfolds in both ingenious and bewildering ways. Quirk and minor revelation undercut by subtle rumination is the name of the game here. The gentle meditations on boredom, poverty and America’s fuel and labour hegemony (over their southern neighbours) constantly threaten to overwhelm the inscrutable and frequently languid tone, but never quite do.
Like a number of recent and soon-to-be released Central American films (also look out for Guatemalan slacker comedy Gasolina), Lake Tahoe is shrewder than its slim premise suggests. The shadows of Chavez, oil and bankrupt colonialism flick over this likeable and well-played comedy, plus Alexis Silent Light Zabe’s cinematography is as compelling as marijuana smoke and Eimbecke and Paula Markovitch’s screenplay bemuses its way into your memory.
GFT, Glasgow, Fri 10–Thu 16 Jul.