Sunday, 26 February 2012

cerro bayo (w&d victoria galardi)

Cerro Bayo is an affectionate fable from Patagonia. It's a character driven piece which examines a family's coming to terms with the attempted suicide of the grandmother, a suicide attempt which is never fully explained. Instead, the film examines the differing reactions of her two daughters and the way in which various members of the family seek to get to hold of the grandmother's legacy.

The drama is less significant than the gently comic portrayal of these people's way of life. Despite the fact they live with a certain degree of affluence, there's a pining for the big city. One of the daughters live in Buenos Aires, where things are clearly not working out for her all that well. Both the grandchildren have plans to get away. When Ines (played by Ines Efron, the remarkable star of XXY) fails to win the local beauty pageant competition, she is devastated. The fact that she's far from the being the likeliest candidate for the prize never seems to have crossed her mind. Her skateboarding brother feels similarly trapped, but thinks he's found an escape route only to have it snatched away.

At one point the film uses a track by Beirut, an effectively jarring moment, which helps to position it as a comedy of manners which could have played out in any small, isolated community. Fittingly, the film refrains from showing almost anything of the festivities which mark the first snowfall on the mountain. This is a chamber piece which refrains from big dramatic statements as its carefully honed script focuses in on the little dramas which make up the everyday lives of people from three generations. 

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