Edgardo Cozarinsky is one of Argentina's most respected film makers and this elegiac nocturnal mood piece 'Ronda nocturna' is a stunning little foray into exploring the people who work by night in a big city, that big city could be anywhere in the world. This is not a film for those who need a storyline or those who aren't willing to go with the flow of the mind of the director in mixing the real with the imagined. But for this viewer this is a mesmerizing theme and variations that magnetically draws us into one evening on the calles de Buenos Aires.
Victor (the fine twenty-three year old actor Gonzalo Heredia) is a hustler and works the streets from dusk until dawn, plying his various wares (drugs, his body, his camaraderie) on one particular November evening. He is 'protected' by a police Inspector (Gregory Dayton) in return for physical favors, shares turf with Carlitos (Diego Trerotola) who spends time in clubs with him and takes him to the 'better venues' of his trade including an ambassador's party where Viktor steals money, catches up on old times with a hustler turned taxi driver Mario (Rafael Ferro) with whom cruises the streets in the taxi talking with transvestites and hookers in a series of warm exchanges and whom he beds and has a threatened experience, narrowly escapes death at the push of a strange woman, befriends a street florist, revives an old girlfriend acquaintance....many things happen and nothing really happens. There is no story here except what happens to a pretty kid on the streets; no preaching, no climaxes, no major dramatic turns are developed and we leave Viktor as dawn rises over the city and his working time is over.
The cinematography by Javier Miquelez is brilliant as is the subtle tango-influenced musical score by Carlos Franzetti. Gonzalo Heredia carries this film with sophisticated acting skills and despite the fact that we are never sure just how much of what we are seeing is real, imagined, drug induced, or remembered, we still care deeply for this quiet little charmer of a lad. His moments with the street florist are the stuff of film magic. Edgardo Cozarinsky knows his craft and seeing 'Night Watch' makes us want to explore all of his films. Highly recommended for lovers of art films. Grady Harp, June 06