A charming and affecting tale charting the fortunes of three small town heroes pursuing their dreams, Carlos Sorin’s “Historias Mínimas” offers further evidence of the current riches to be found in Argentine cinema. Awarded a special jury prize at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, it’s a deceptively simple, yet delightful road movie concerned with three disparate characters heading for the Argentine city of San Julian amid the beautiful landscapes of Patagonia. Roberto (Javier Lombardo) is a travelling salesman hoping to impress a young widow by surprising her child with a birthday cake. Don Justo (Antonio Benedictis) is an old man with poor vision who sits in front of his son’s grocery store and entertains passing children by wiggling his ears. Maria (Javiera Bravo) is a shy young mother who has won an appearance on TV game show “Multicoloured Casino”. Gently probing the hopes and aspirations of his characters, Sorin uses the interconnected, tripartite structure to offer astute observations both on a culture relatively unscathed by modernity and on contemporary Argentina itself.
2002 – Certificate: 15 – Argentina
7 out of 10
I work for a charity. Ironically, considering we’re basically penniless (because we use all our dosh on doing ‘good stuff’) we spend a lot of time counting our money. We count it up, we count it down, we count it sideways, we even lend it to one another (a loving and intimate experience we call an “internal transfer”) so we can count it some more. Every year, to punish ourselves for not having enough money with which to save the planet, we like to spend ‘quality time’ counting what little we have. It’s a quasi-religious experience for us all, where staff from far and wide go back to their offices and sit in front of a computer, before subjecting themselves to a living Hell. In the ‘old days’ we called these bi-annual events “budgeting” or “forecasting”. Then, discovering we actually had less money than we thought, we decided to count it four times a year instead and call it “financial planning”. These are watched over by a group of pan-dimensional super-intelligent beings we call the Leadership Team, (although throughout the annuals of human history they’ve sometimes been given many other, less flattering titles). Their names are known to everyone, but few claim to have met any, (which certainly helps to keep the God theme going). Like visiting a priest, this is a time for people to confess their sins and fess up to all the non-existent income they’ve been claiming they’re going to raise. The naughtier you’ve been, the longer you’re required to do this for. This year I’ve been really bad, so I’ve just spent 6 days in Purgatory, filling in around 16,000 rectangles that needed a number put into them, mostly, as you might imagine, zeros. There were also about 100 pages of notes, to explain what all the noughts mean. I guess I could have spent six days filling in forms to gain some money to put into all the boxes that have nothing in them, but what do I know? I suppose if you add enough noughts together, they’ll end up equalling more than nothing; there must be some ‘weird’ maths somewhere that results in that happening, or maybe there’re just typos. That reminds me, I must go and spend my HMV Vouchers on Saturday. This is a film about some people without a great deal of money, who seem to get by okay.
This is a cute drama/comedy about three people undertaking different journeys in Argentina, from the same, small village to a (not so) nearby town. Unlike the last film I watched, “Say Yes”, which was a road trip movie about a psycho hitchhiker in Korea, this one is slow, nothing much happens and it’s really quite boring. Yet despite this it’s actually quite engrossing. There’s something very ‘reality TV’ about watching ordinary people going about their business and seeing how important seemingly small things are to them. Those little events that mean you have a good day or a crap day; in the big scheme of things they don’t make the slightest difference, but to us individually they’re immensely significant. This movie also highlights the fact that most people are inherently quite decent, which isn’t something you see in a film very often. If there isn’t at least one person trying to fuck up someone else’s life, then it’s just weird. If you remember “The Fast Show’s” Chanel 9, you’ll be able to relate to the Multicoloured Casino part. There’s something quite funny about watching a film in Spanish featuring a really crappy game show, which uses the word “multiprocessor” too many times. Some of scenery is pretty inspiring too, so it’s a shame the quality of the picture isn’t that great. Nice film, go watch.
Recommended for people who can manage 88 minutes without any aliens, explosions or superheroes. It’s tough I know, but someone has to do it.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? I’m going for the workman who helps Don Justo get his dog back. True, it’s probably not actually his dog and the workman does have to buy it from some guy, but considering he didn’t really know Don Justo, that was a pretty badass thing to do. And there I was, thinking that all that Argentinians are heartless bastards who just want to reinvade the Falklands. I guess that’s what happens when you confuse politicians with human beings.
Well well, it’s been a while since I wrote anything here. I guess that means I’ve been in prison again, on a secret mission for the Government, or abducted by aliens, (which in the latter case would be the third time, as far I can remember anyway). An alternative might be that I’ve just been too busy at work to want to type yet more stuff when I get home, or perhaps I’m just a lazy, old sod. Who knows?
Talking about being old, it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago. I spend the day in a place called ‘Up North’ at a meeting, to hear how we’re all going to be reorganised at work. I really like my job (most of the time), but I must say that I’m fortunate indeed to work for the organisation that probably restructures itself more than any other in the entire universe. (Okay, I appreciate that I’ve not actually got a total understanding of the universe and all the organisations in it, but I do have a good enough grasp on things to realise that it’s simply not possible to restructure more and not break any laws of physics.) But as I’m apt to tell the people I work with, if you don’t like the changes don’t worry, because it will all get changed again in a couple of years.
Anyway, back to my birthday. There I was, sitting on the final leg of my journey back to Reading, the last 30 minutes between Paddington and Reading, looking forward to getting home for my birthday; not that I had any plans, but there’s a principle here so stick with me on this. So anyway, there we are, speeding along at something over 100mph, when, oh dear, someone decides to get run over on the track up ahead and consequently turns my 30 minute journey into one lasting more than two and a half hours. Well done mate. Now this is of course, a really tragic thing to happen and call me self-centered if you like, but it was my birthday! And I’d had a long journey too. So much for partying the night away with a crowd of beautiful women, plentiful drugs, good music and an endless supply of beer. (As an aside to this, I only got two birthday cards, and one of those was just a 50p off voucher in a card from some company that I probably won’t use, but it did say happy birthday on it so it counts.)
And in other big news, I’ve decided to join the human race. What I mean by this is that I’ve now got a Facebook account. Having felt for several years like I was living off the grid by refusing to have one, ‘The Man’ has finally got me in his grasp. Bastard. I do need to point out that I’ve not done this because there’s been a huge influx of people suddenly thinking that I’m the best thing since sliced bread and wanting to be my mate; (sliced bread isn’t that good for you anyway, it doesn’t fill you up and it’s full of rubbish calories and salt, a bit like me really). The fact of the matter is I’ve only done it because hardly any bands are using MySpace anymore (as they’ve all gone over to Facebook as the new MySpace is virtually unusable now) and I’ve started to feel like I am loosing track of things. As this is basically all I care about in life (actually that’s not quite true but for dramatic effect I’ll say it), this is obviously a bad thing. I wonder how many Friends I’ll manage to pick up. None so far. I hate it’s ugly, blue colour and angular design too. The one good thing is that my having an account there has probably doomed it, as has been the case with several other social networking sites I’ve joined in the past. Facebook is the social networking equivalent of Tesco, minus the Clubcard Points. Oh God, I’ve even put a link in to them…
Right now I’m listening to “West Blanket” by Picked Dick (now known as Mike TV).