Director: Alejandro Agresti | 91 minutes | drama, comedy | Actors: Vera Fogwill, Angela Molina, Fabian Vena, Jean Rochefort, Ulises Dumont, Carlos Roffé, Sergio Poves Campos, Sebastian Polonski, Pascual Condito, Lorena De Filipo, Pablo Fendrik, Mario Marquez
The face of Soledad says enough about the character of “El viento se llevó lo qué”: (quite) roguish, playful, and sometimes with wide-eyed surprise. “El viento” is a rather special film. A cheerful surreal allegory is told against a realistic background of a dark era. The title, “Wind with the Gone”, also says a lot. Because doesn’t that title look like another famous movie title? As the title is literally messed up, so are most of the characters in this movie. In fact, Soledad (how appropriate that name) is the only one who still seems to have everything sorted out.
Although she initially wonders where she ended up, society in Río Pico turns out to be exactly what she is looking for: an uncomplicated and loving world in which she is valued. She soon got used to having no normal conversation with her beloved Pedro; that village scientist Antonio (Ulises Dumont) invents the most fantastic theories (the theory of relativity, psychoanalysis, the social revolution), enthusiastically takes them to the big city to discover that he was not the first; that hostess Maria is passionately lonely; that all villagers are fans of the past and twisted glory of actor Edgar Wexley. These are just a few examples of the madness that keeps the village happy.
In a subtle way, however, it becomes clear that changes are on the way. A coup is taking place in Argentina, and although the village doesn’t really notice it thanks to the remoteness and the innocence of its inhabitants, this influence is still seeping in. Antonio has his umpteenth genius idea, but this time he goes to Buenos Aires at a very badly timed moment to “sell” his idea. He has thought that everyone is equal and that everything must be shared, just as the right-wing soldiers have come to rule. As a result, Antonio no longer returns to the village, and the residents consider him a traitor (of whom or what is not clear, by the way). When he does eventually come back, he will be bullied. In a suddenly impressive scene, he reports on the methods of interrogation of the rulers. Who is crazier: The man who has no idea what is happening to him, or the people who view his idea and thoughts as a serious threat?
Still, life goes on, and the village even revives when the widely acclaimed star from France comes to the village. Edgar Wexley has come to the source of his stacks of fan mail. He now wants to see the residents of Río Pico, his fans, in a living way. Here is the ultimate upside-down world! The movie star goes on a hunt for his fans. The unfortunate Edgar finds more than he was looking for: recognition, but also kindred spirits and love.
Edgar’s attempts to make his own film produce perhaps the most beautiful scenes. He goes with Antonio and Pedro into the vast plains of Patagonia and finds an old peasant who tells his life story. Suddenly the film becomes a documentary with a grandpa in the lead who undoubtedly lived there all his life. We see how he dreams of a new home and hear the tragic story of the death of his loved ones.
After that, the story and movie don’t seem to really go anywhere. Maria and Edgar find each other, but the shared village life with the cinema as the center seems to be disappearing. Especially when there is a large TV mast next to the village. Everyone now has their own TV at home, and the cinema remains empty. The accent has shifted from the cheerful madness of the village to the quiet and peaceful lives behind the front door. Río Pico has been swallowed up by the civilized and “normal” world. Reason for Soledad and Pedro to leave.
It is a sad, melancholic and also somewhat disappointing ending to an allegory that further radiates the joie de vivre.