Friday, 5 November 2010

noberto apenas tarde (w&d daniel hendler)

The voice of the critic has been in hibernation in South America. The critic has been to see one other film, New York Stories, a faintly catastrophic mesh of impressions that added up to less than the sum of its parts should have done.

Apart from that, it's been deep immersion in zombies and Pinter. No time for cinema going. And, truth be told, little inspiration to service the habit. However, energy was summoned to go and see Hendler's whimsical Montevidean tale. For the obvious reason that it depicts the city in which I'm currently living, and also because the leading man, Fernando Amaral happened to be participating in a series of Pinter workshops I was giving at the Galpon. Because it's like that here. Fernando is now rehearsing a no-budget play at the same venue, and will be for the next few months. One day you're the lead in a film that's doing the festival circuit round the world, the next you're turning up at 10pm for rehearsal and working gratis. The actor's life is not that different in London, but it's a little different. Fernando is not anticipating a call from Hollywood at any moment.

His performance is remarkably composed. He holds the film together, as the ill-fated Noberto, an incompetent estate agent who decides to take theatre classes, and finds his life transformed, for better or worse. It's a low-fi tale, which succeeds in capturing a slice of the life lead on the theatrical margins of the city. The impressive Roberto Suarez, who plays his charismatic teacher, is himself a charismatic teacher, (and who we ran into in the Girasol later that night after watching the film). The world Hendler presents is only a few heartbeats away from the real; and Noberto's story could well be happening beyond the door I currently inhabit, Paysandu, esquina Roxlo y Tacuarembo.

That's the charm of Noberto. Even if the narrative fails to fully hold up, and the film rather fades away towards the end, (in this reviewer's opinion), it still succeeds in pinpointing a Montevideo which really exists, as well as the bittersweet role of theatre and the arts within the city's psyche. A retreat, but also a dream of another life. Which is perhaps what art always connected to. Not the dream of wealth or kudos: just another life, one that eclipses the humdrum of the day to day. You don't have to be very famous to experience Warhol's sixty seconds of fame. You just have to want to make that leap one day, transcend, fly for a moment, and there's the chance you'll encounter it.

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