All roads lead to San Julian in the lovely Intimate Stories. It’s the existential last leg of a neurotic tour a presumptuous businessman makes between different bakeries in the area; it’s where a woman and her young child must go to after she wins a spot on a television show; and it’s the place that promises to reunite a nearly-blind old man with the dog that abandoned him three years earlier. Obsessed with the birthday cake he looks to deliver to the child of a widowed mother, a love-struck Roberto (Javier Lombardo) voices director Carlos Sorin’s obsession with fate and, more evocatively, the notion that failure can be used as an opportunity for change. Poverty is very much a reality in the film, but it’s something Sorin chooses to convey using small emotional gestures. When María (Javiera Bravo) wins a food processor on the TV show Casino Multicolor, the importance of the item can be read all over the woman’s face. A fellow contestant on the show chooses to exploit María’s emotion, just as Roberto manipulates people to pander to his obsessive-compulsive needs—it’s this disregard for other people’s emotions that Sorin looks to free his characters of. The sad Justo (Antonio Benedicti) struggles with a condescending family in Fitz Roy, and when a man tells him that he may have seen the old man’s dog in San Julian, Justo hitches numerous rides to the city, simultaneously enticing and confounding people with his observations about life. Solin delicately unpacks the old man’s baggage, revealing a fragile creature confused by a tragic accident that may have led to the dog’s disappearance. It’s the film’s crisscrossing narrative and sense of community that brings to mind Altman’s Short Cuts, but the pursuit of enlightenment and the poetic texture of Sorin’s images similarly evokes Lynch’s The Straight Story. Quiet and unpretentious, the film’s humanism isn’t confrontational exactly but it’s intense nonetheless.
- New Yorker Films
- 94 min
- Carlos Sorin
- Pablo Solarz
- Javier Lombardo, Antonio Benedicti, Javiera Bravo, Francis Sandoval, Carlos Montero, Aníbal Maldonado, María Rosa Cianferoni, Mariela Díaz
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