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Review: One of two (2004)

Director: | 88 minutes | , | Actors: , , , , , , ,

Cortez is a rather sleepy village like there are probably so many in Argentina. In the economic depression of 2001, the self-employed workers (the butcher, the grocer) try to survive, a factory worker (more out of desperation than out of combativeness) calls for a strike, and a mother falls far away into a deep depression. Meanwhile, three friends are mainly talking about boys, and Juán (Jorge Sesán) seems to be the only one to escape the malaise. He has ‘work’ in Buenos Aires. His nephew regularly borrows money, and where Juán’s money comes from is increasingly the subject of speculation in the village.

This story, which is actually more of a life sketch than a plot with head and tail, shows in an almost casual way how difficult life can be in a great but poor country like Argentina. Everyone lives with each other and knows each other, but in the end they have to keep themselves well. The style, partly through the use of video, contributes to this atmosphere. There is indeed a story, with Juán as the protagonist, but the image of the man in Argentine society is just as important. Each character has its own (small) story in this : no stories that start at the beginning and end before the end of the film, but lifelike experiences, conversations and, above all, many worries. Worries about money, love and friendship.

The fact that Juán is the main character is unfortunately a slightly less strong choice. Juán is a tough guy that everyone looks up to, but also a fairly emotionless type and, moreover, not too intelligent. In that regard, his girlfriend (Jimena Anganuzzi) is a much more interesting character. His cousin, a typical loser who looks up to his tough cousin Juán, also deserved more elaboration. By the way, Juán’s superficiality is not due to Jorge Sesán, the actor who plays him. Juán is just a fairly simple type. Even when he ends up in serious trouble, he doesn’t really seem thrilled. Balance that comes from stupidity. But perhaps that is precisely a character with which you survive in a difficult society like the Argentinian. However it may be,

The film is entertaining, more because of the interesting supporting roles than because of the pretty good plot in which Juán has the lead role. In addition, the film has a beautiful poetic ‘finishing touch’: a cyclist regularly cycles through the screen. Sometimes he is followed extensively by the camera, but he also regularly shoots through the image in the background. A character who literally and figuratively traverses the lives of the others, without touching them for a moment. Unnoticed, untouchable and silent, he cycles, immune to the everyday worries that the others are in to their necks.

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