Sunday, October 3, 2010


9th Spanish Film Festival
Cinema 1, Greenbelt 3

*** This is a repost of my previous review of this film. It is included in the current line up of films showing at the Spanish film festival. ***

This Argentinian film won in the best foreign language film category at the 2010 Oscars.

The setting is present day and it focuses on Benjamin Esposito, (Ricardo Darin) a retired criminal court investigator who is trying to write a novel about an unsolved homicide case that has haunted him for 25 years. After visiting his ex-superior Irene (Soledad Villamil), who's now a high court judge, Benjamin decides to re-investigate the case and we flash back to the crime scene circa 1970s where a beautiful young woman was raped and murdered.

As Benjamin attempts to recall the details of the case, various events unfold from the questioning of the victim's troubled husband, to the discovery and arrest of a probable suspect. The title is never fully explained but I figure it refers to a particular photograph that reveals the true identity of the killer/suspect.

The film is beautifully shot with inventive and authentic cinematography. The plot unfolds like a traditional detective story with a powerful story of unrequited love bubbling away at the sidelines. The story unravels through flashbacks but since they use the same actors (just alter their hairstyles to fit the period) the scenes swift by effortlessly. There are also some terrific scenes (a chilling elevator shot and a chase through a soccer stadium) along the way and a powerful and shocking ending that can be a bit alarming.

Even though it stretches to 2 hours, it is a compelling thriller with the right blend of drama, romance and social awareness. It's the kind of film that lingers in your mind long after the end credits have rolled by.

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