Warm and frequently very funny, Argentine director Carlos Sorin's third feature weaves together three story lines into one road-tripping adventure that's a joy ride from beginning to end. In the tiny, speck-on-the-map Patagonian village of Fitz Roy, shy Maria Flores' (Javiera Bravo) dull life takes an exciting turn when she's selected to appear on "Multicolored...read more
Warm and frequently very funny, Argentine director Carlos Sorin's third feature weaves together three story lines into one road-tripping adventure that's a joy ride from beginning to end. In the tiny, speck-on-the-map Patagonian village of Fitz Roy, shy Maria Flores' (Javiera Bravo) dull life takes an exciting turn when she's selected to appear on "Multicolored Casino," a game show where contestants compete for makeup kits, multiprocessors and even a trip to Brazil. The only problem is that Maria, whose husband, Carlos (Enrique Otranto), keeps her and their baby virtual prisoners inside their house, must travel all the way to the provincial capital of San Julian to appear on the show. Meanwhile, Don Justo Beneditti (Antonio Benedictis), the elderly owner of Fitz Roy's roadside market, is also planning a trip to San Julian. Don Justo's long-lost dog, Badface, has been spotted at a highway patrol station on the city's outskirts. Don Justo is eager to find Badface and make final restitution for a terrible wrong he did to his old friend, but his patronizing son and daughter-in-law think he's nuts: "How are you going to get to San Julian when you can't make it to the toilet?" Like Maria, Don Justo makes a daring escape and is lucky enough to catch a ride with Roberto (Javier Lombardo), a traveling salesman from Fitz Roy who's also on his way to San Julian. A 20-year veteran of the road and a firm believer in "creativity, improvisation and spontaneity," Roberto is intent on impressing a pretty San Julian shop owner by arriving unexpectedly with an extravagant, soccer-ball-shaped birthday cake for her son Rene, whom he's never even seen. With each passing mile, however, Robert begins to doubt himself — How does he know Rene isn't a girl? What would a girl want with a cake shaped like a soccer ball? — and, with Don Justo riding shotgun, goes in search of a baker who can refashion the cake into a turtle. In Sorin's previous feature, EVERSMILE, NEW JERSEY (1989), which was extensively reworked by the film's producers after Sorin delivered his first cut, Daniel Day-Lewis played a traveling dentist who finds love and dental work in the wilds of Patagonia, and it's clear that Sorin has a natural affinity for the humble people who pursue their dreams across the vast open spaces of southern Argentina. He's also a deft storyteller with a taste for the absurd: The scene in which Maria finally gets her big moment on TV is touching and hilarious without ever once condescending to his brave little heroine. (In Spanish, with English subtitles.)
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