Review: ‘The Stubborn Ones’

A terrorist group plots more mayhem than it's able to carry out in "The Stubborn Ones," a flawed film whose tragic topicality is unlikely to help it find an audience. Feature bow by Argentine helmer Mariano Torres Manzur pokes fun at a motley crew of dim-witted anarchists living on a farm outside Buenos Aires, but lacks insight into their motives.

A cockeyed terrorist group plots more mayhem than it’s able to carry out in “The Stubborn Ones,” a seriously flawed film whose tragic topicality is unlikely to help it find an audience. Feature bow by Argentine helmer Mariano Torres Manzur pokes childish fun at a motley crew of dim-witted anarchists living on a farm outside Buenos Aires, but lacks insight into their motives. Lensed in B&W and screened at Venice in Beta, pic’s poverty-stricken look may mirror its spiritually destitute characters, but it’s far too amateurishly shot to make a coherent point.

Artemio, a down-and-out knife-sharpener, is enticed into the cell by Dino, who keeps portraits of Karl Marx and Eva Peron on the wall of his farm house. Other revolutionaries include a young French girl who quickly pairs with Artemio, as well as a sadistic ex-soldier, an old-timer ready to kill for his libertarian ideals, and a gambler whose wife has kicked him out of the house. Silly rather than funny, these rebels without a cause are wooden and lifeless. Randomly moving camera and uncertain editing have trouble centering scenes.

The Stubborn Ones

Argentina-France

Production

A Mariano Torres Manzur (Argentina)/Gemini Films (France) production. Produced, directed, written by Torres Manzur.

Crew

Camera (b&w, Beta), German Drexler; editors, Roberto Echegoyenberry, Torres Manzur; music, Martin Torres Manzur; production designer, Claudia Averbuj. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (New Territories), Sept. 8, 2001. Running time: 83 MIN.

With

German de Silva, Mario Paolucci, Ernesto Candoni, Leon Dogodny, Natalia de Parseval, Mario Offemhenden.
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