Review by: Graeme Kay | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Interview with director Alejandro Agresti.
EXTREMELY moving Argentinean film, set in the 1960s, about a
nine-year-old boy, who longs to be part of a family.
Valentin, whose character is based on the boyhood experiences
of the director, Alejandro Agresti (who also stars in the film,
as Vaentin's dad), lives with his ailing grandma in an unprepossessing
suburb of an anonymous Argentine town.
He is an eccentric boy whose ambition in life is to be an astronaut,
even though Argentina does not have a space programme and probably
He misses his mother, who is alive, but is hurt by her unwillingness
or inability to care for him. He also misses his father, who visits
but only occasionally. Usually, when father arrives, there is
a new girlfriend in tow.
So far, Valentin has not been impressed by his father's choice
of companion, but when the gorgeous Angelica arrives, he pulls
out all the stops to ensure that she will become his new mother.
But things do not go quite as planned.
Will Valentin's desire to belong to a real family ever be realised?
Anyone who saw and enjoyed Lasse Hallestrom's My Life As A Dog
will love this film, because it explores similar themes of childhood
loneliness and the importance of a loving family life.
The central character, played with great confidence and aplomb
by Rodrigo Noya, may be more worldly wise and manipulative than
Hallestrom's Ingmar, but he possesses the same quality of trusting
innocence in adults, even though he is constantly baffled by their
seemingly irrational behaviour.
In the end, it's not so much sympathy you feel for Valentin,
instead you can't help but admire his determination to succeed.
Shot with great sensitivity and empathy for the confused emotions
felt by a nine-year-old, this is a beautiful film that will have
everyone but the most stony-hearted viewer reaching for the Kleenex.