Today: April 19, 2024
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Las Acacias

I suffer from insomnia. Not all the time. It’s episodic, it comes and goes. Sometimes, I have difficulty falling asleep. When I’m asleep, I experience difficulty staying asleep. It’s a cycle.

I suffer from insomnia. Not all the time.
It’s episodic, it comes and goes.
Sometimes, I have difficulty falling asleep. When I’m asleep, I experience difficulty staying
asleep. It’s a cycle.
First, you can’t sleep. Then you start to get stressed about
not being able to sleep. Then you
can’t sleep because you’re stressed.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, a vicious circle that can only be
broken by medication. 7.5mg of
Zopiclone and you’re ticketyboo, right as rain. Or you could just watch Las
Acacias
.

Hauling lumber between Paraguay and Buenos Aries, grumpy
truck driver Ruben (German De Silva)
is more or less press-ganged by his boss into giving a ride to single mum
Jacinta (Hebe Duarte) and her
five-month-old daughter Anahi (Nayra Calle
Mamani
), quite possibly the chubbiest baby you’ll ever see.

Initially reticent (did I mention he was grumpy?) about
his passengers, Ruben slowly thaws towards Jacinta and Anahi as they slowly get
to know each other during the long drive.
Did I mention everything in this film happens slowly? Both lonely and quietly desperate to
make a connection, Ruben and Jacinta are obviously perfect for each other but
will Ruben be able to grasp this chance at happiness or will he let Jacinta
slip through his fingers?

A road movie so slow and ponderous it makes you want to
get out and walk, I may have made Las
Acacias
sound more interesting and exciting than it actually is. Taking place almost entirely within the
confines of Ruben’s cab, writer/director Pablo
Giorgelli
’s debut is content to putter along a well-travelled highway. You’re never in much doubt what’s going
to happen, you’ve seen this film a hundred times already, but usually
filmmakers will toss a few obstacles in the path of true love. Maybe throw in some exciting incidents,
some tension. A will they, won’t
they vibe. That all must have
seemed like a bit of an effort to Giorgelli as nothing happens in this film!
Nothing at all!

Standing in the corner, staring at the wall and trying to hold my breath
for 86 minutes would have been a better waste of my time than watching Las Acacias.

While the modest story and naturalistic performances may
appeal to some viewers and the long, unobtrusive takes, lack of incidental
music and slow, measured editing are familiar staples of Latin American art-house
movies, Las Acacias was a film I
endured rather than enjoyed.

For much of its running time I expected an 11th
hour reveal that, true to trucker stereotype, Ruben would turn out to be a
deranged serial killer and would take a hammer to Jacinta and her tubby
baby. Alas, this was not the case
and I now feel somewhat dirty that I spent 80-odd minutes anticipating the
vicious murder of a fat infant.

Las Acacias
is a film that people who play The Buena
Vista Social Club
soundtrack at dinner parties will pretend they like.

David Watson

David Watson is a screenwriter, journalist and 'manny' who, depending on time of day and alcohol intake could be described as a likeable misanthrope or a carnaptious bampot. He loves about 96% of you but there's at least 4% he'd definitely eat in the event of a plane crash. Email: david.watson@filmjuice.com

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