Una de dos (2004)
Directed by: Alejo Hernán Taube | 88 minutes | drama, romance | Actors: Jorge Sesán, Jimena Anganuzzi, Renata Aielo, Ariel Staltari, Pablo de Nito, Vana Passeri, Jesica Gambarte, Adrián Airala
Cortez is a rather drowsy village like there are probably so many in Argentina. In the economic depression of 2001, the self-employed (the butcher, the grocer) try to survive, a factory worker calls (more out of desperation than out of combativeness) to strike, and a faraway mother falls into a deep depression. Meanwhile, three friends mainly talk about boys, and Juán (Jorge Sesán) seems to be the only one to escape the malaise. He has ‘work’ in Buenos Aires. His cousin regularly borrows money, and where Juán’s money comes from is becoming the subject of more and more speculation in the village.
This story, which is actually more of a sketch of life than a plot with a 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 make do themselves. The documentary style, partly through the use of video, contributes to this atmosphere. There is indeed a story, with Juán as the main character, but at least as important is the image of the common man in Argentine society. Each character has his own (small) story in this film: no stories that start at the beginning and end before the end of the film, but lifelike experiences, conversations and above all a lot of 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 also 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. Incidentally, Juán’s superficiality is not due to Jorge Sesán, the actor who plays him. Juán is just a pretty simple type. Even if he eventually gets into serious trouble, he doesn’t seem really taken aback. Balance that comes from stupidity. But perhaps that is precisely a character with which you survive in a difficult society like the Argentine. Be that as it may, ‘Una de Dos’ gives a nice picture of the everyday and unruly reality of Argentina in economic malaise.
The film is entertaining, even 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 regularly he just shoots through the image in the background. A character who literally and figuratively crosses the lives of the others, without even touching them for a moment. He cycles unnoticed, untouchable and silent, immune to the everyday worries that the others are up to their necks in.