The International Writers Magazine:DVD Release review:
El Perro (2004, Pathe) Directed by Carlos Sorin
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.
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
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
© Gabriela Davies Oct 24th 2005
Gabriela is studying Creative Arts at the University of Portsmouth
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