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Review: A Week Alone – A Week Alone (2007)

Director: Celina Murga | 110 minutes | drama, comedy | Actors: Natalia Gomez Alarcon, Ignacio Giménez, Lucas Del Bo, Gastón Luparo, Magdalena Capobianco, Ramiro Saludas, Eleonora Capobianco, Federico Peña, Manuel Aparicio,

Which child does not dream of being for a week, without parents paying attention to you? Do what you feel like all day long, go to bed when it suits you and drink as much chocolate milk as you can. Delicious right! But that it can soon get boring, as shown in the film ‘Una semana solos’ (‘One week alone’), in which a group of friends from a wealthy neighborhood in Buenos Aires is followed during such a week living on their own. The only ones who supervise a bit are a 23-year-old housekeeper and the men from the security service who guard the gated residential area. But it soon turns out that they don’t have much to say either.

We follow the group of children, more or less led by Maria, the eldest of the couple, as they mostly poke around in abandoned villas and hang bored in front of the TV. Especially in the first half of the film, very little happens. The relationships between the children are explored somewhat in long shots. For example, Maria turns out to have a crush on her cousin Fernando and she is also the role model for her younger sister Sofia. The boys in the group prefer to play computer games or hang out around the pool. During the week, the children take the bus to school, and then hang out again in the evening.

Only when Juan, the brother of housekeeper Esther, comes to visit, does some tension begin to be felt. Juan comes from outside, from a normal ‘poor’ neighborhood (he must therefore get special permission to enter the residential area at all) and it is immediately clear that the rich boys do not really like him. Where you would expect the to work towards a clash between two cultures from that moment on, the story continues to flow on. Maria is secretly tired of Fernando again, but this does not lead to major dramas. And even when the group is caught in a break-in and the boys try to blame Juan, nothing at all happens in the end.

This makes the very double. On the one hand, the image that director Celina Murga paints of the group of rich kids is beautifully filmed, with beautiful natural acting by all involved. On the other hand, as a viewer, you feel a little inadequate if after almost two hours the screen suddenly goes black and you have actually not become any wiser. There is no clear criticism of the situation in which these children grow up. At most you can say that the film responds very nicely to the expectations of viewers by not showing a fierce confrontation between children from different positions. But if that was the intention, the film could have been less than half an hour.

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