The International Writers Magazine
:DVD Release review:

Bombom, El Perro (2004, Pathe) Directed by Carlos Sorin
Gabriela Davies

A film to follow the commonly used 'dog is a man's best friend' theme, Bombom, El Perro, (‘Bombom, The Dog’ in Argentinean) is one of those films where you see the protagonist go through life in silent desperation. Directed by Carlos Sorin, who also did Minimal Stories (2002) and with cinematography by Hugo Colace (also in Minimal Stories, 2002), the film was nominated for seven awards at the Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards, including best film, best director, best new actor, and best music.

Unemployed, unhappy, and driving shot after shot through the endless, bleak but beautiful scenery of Patagonia, Juan "Coco" Villegas is caught between ages. Too old to start off on a new career, or even get a decent job as a mechanic, which he had been all his life, and too young to just be a retired old man. You get the sense, although he never says much, that Coco still has many plans, projects, but he is stuck in the monotony of middle-age, working-class apathy.

It is when on one of his road trips he decides to stop and help a young lady fix her car, that the film actually kicks off. As payment for his mechanical services, Coco receives what seems to be a rather large, quite fierce looking, apparently purebred and expensive dog. Like in a fairytale, his life changes completely from then on. He names the dog Lechien, as this is what it says on its documents ('le chien', French for 'the dog'), and Lechien leads him, almost like an omen, to good fortunes and changes ahead.

The quiet and sad man, whose expression just screams frustrated poverty and naiveté at the start of the film, gets led on a marvellous life-changing experience by this dog, who himself looks just as innocent and lost as his owner, despite his brave and fierce figure. The scenery does not look glamorous, Patagonia is shown at its most honest - deserted highways, poor surroundings, social differences; and the characters themselves are representative of the place. Each has their own intensely sad story, living as part of the story of a country riddled with poverty, where they have to go roundabout ways to find money to survive.

Nevertheless, the scenery is beautiful, and maybe it is the passion in the story, or the raw and rough beauty of Patagonia itself, but the film will captivate you. As man and dog drive off in to the sunset in the last scene, you do not get the sense that this is yet another cheesy road movie (albeit with better music) - you wish it didn't have to end, you wish you were with them. One of those classically wonderful films about life, and how it can take a turn for the best when you least expect it to.

Out on DVD on the 10th of October, it is a must-buy. The DVD extras include ‘The Making of Bombon ‘featurette’, film notes, theatrical trailer interactive menu and scene access. If this does not tempt you, at least buy the soundtrack, which comes out later on this year.
© Gabriela Davies Oct 24th 2005

Gabriela is studying Creative Arts at the University of Portsmouth

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