This is one of those movies that I always think after watching, "I know exactly how I could redo that movie to make it better!"
I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to the director and screenwriter, Diego Lerman, who adapted his movie from a novel that I have not read. It is his first "feature" film. It has some non-professional actors and actresses, and is made on a low budget in B&W. Boy, does it show!
SPOILER (DO NOT READ THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPISED!)
The narrative is pretty straight forward: A chubby girl, Marcia (Tatiana Saphir), with self-esteem issues is confronted by two "street urchin"-type girls (lesbians, more or less) who call themselves Mao and Lenin (Carla Crespo and Veronica Hassan) who have "issues" themselves. Mao professes love and the desire to, not to quote the raunchy dialogue, have lesbian sex with Marcia. They take her to the sea (somewhere Marcia has never been) and then to Lenin's great-aunt's house in another town. Her aunt, played by Beatriz Thibaudin, is a sort of old hippie, who has 2 boarders: a teacher/painter/odd jobber (Maria Merlino) and a biology student (Marcos Ferrante). To make a long narrative short, Marcia sleeps with Mao, the aunt and Lenin revisit their past, Mao goes with the biology student, and Lenin returns to Buenos Aires with Marcia.
(OKAY, NOW YOU RESUME READING)
The film is shot in, what seems to be) ISO 800 and 1600 B&W film stock. The entire movie comes across as a student thesis film, with character studies trumping narrative. It really doesn't balance well, even though I really wanted it to. The narrative seems to be about Marcia, but rolls over to Lenin, then back to Marcia, so the viewer is constantly negotiating who they are supposed to follow. There are some truly predictable scenes, too. It is filmed and acted in cinema verite-style.
WARNING: There is some nudity, and one sex scene (not graphic, and only seen as a point-of-view through a crack in the door). One major problem I had was with the character of Marcia. Even though she is chubby, she is cute, but the actress doesn't quite seem to understand how to play her character. Her character is schizophrenically portrayed: she seems to be strong (she takes care of the business where she work, while the other worker slacks-off, but unwilling to control her own actions/reactions the next). I even asked my wife what she would do in some of the situations, and she pretty much answered, "not what she did." I have seen quite a few movies with lesbian characters, and this movie is far from being the worst, but it is amateurishly made. In the end, Lenin/Veronica is the only character in which you have sympathy. The acting is rough, and the story is disjointed and the scenes don't quite have the flow. There are holes in the narrative, too (what was that "tip" that Lenin's aunt wanted to tell her?, for example).
2 1/2 of 5. The extra 1/2 star is for the Student Thesis- type filmmaking that I give the benefit-of-the-doubt to. I really wish he'd remake this movie, but I don't think the director is willing or able to do so. A shame.
The DVD cover goes on and on about the many Film Festival accolades, but don't be suckered into buying movies with that being the selling point. Definitely an R-Rated movie: adult themes, full nudity, lesbian sexual situations, language. There is no rating noted on the cover! Not for the children, and not for all tastes.