Review: A Happy Afternoon (2002)


Directed by: Juan Villegas, Celina Murga | 7 minutes | comedy, short film | Actors: Camila Toker, Tamae Garateguy, Casiana Torres

This work by Juan Villegas is a charming, light-hearted video about codes of conduct in communication between people. About expectations and assumptions. About what we say and what we mean. Like little Lucy Pevensie in ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe’ suddenly had to wonder why people shake hands when they meet, the female protagonists in ‘Una tarde feliz’, among other things, think about the mandatory answers people give when asked how they are doing.

Greetings, such as are often used in America, where people are asked how things are going, while no substantive answer is actually expected, are presented here in a comical way. When one of the women, after such a greeting or question, receives a real answer from her friend about all the problems in her life and her health, she responds blasé: “What are you doing? I don’t want to hear all that ”. She just has to say that everything is fine, then ask her friend the same question, who then says everything is okay, and then they can continue the conversation. That’s how it works. This is all acted very witty and nonchalant – one rattling on, while the other happily walks on and doesn’t care.

Another recurring element is the irritation of one of the women about the rounding up of prices by sellers or service providers. She tells how she stood her ground when a taxi driver tried to swindle her in this way, but later this turns out to be a fantasy: she gave in to her knees because she was not assertive enough. Later in the film, when she buys a key ring for a third friend’s birthday, the price is rounded up again (clearly incorrectly), and again she does nothing. When the two friends meet the third woman in the park and she tells her that it is not her birthday at all, one of them, funnily enough, does not immediately accept this and wants proof. “Are you sure? Have a look at your diary? ”. Either way, the presents are distributed anyway. At least, one then. When it turns out that the previous girlfriend has bought the same present, the “chaos” is complete. The woman does not want to give her key ring, while the (occasion) birthday girl is on it. So that’s going to be fighting. And what is that dog doing there?

‘Una tarde feliz’ is a pleasant, small, nothing-to-do film with fun observations and infectious interpretations of the three actresses.

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