Review: ‘Demolition’

A well-intentioned but lesser entry in the new Argentine sub-genre of wish fulfillment films, which is becoming increasingly popular as the country's economic crisis deepens, "The Demolition" adopts a lightly comic tone and a happy-ish ending to coat the bitter pill it's offering viewers.

A well-intentioned but lesser entry in the new Argentine sub-genre of wish fulfillment films, which is becoming increasingly popular as the country’s economic crisis deepens, “The Demolition” adopts a lightly comic tone and a happy-ish ending to coat the bitter pill it’s offering viewers. In Marcelo Mangone’s (“Natural”) second feature, two middle-aged men made redundant by the system pit pessimistic realism against the power of the imagination. Though story development lacks originality, uplifting pic should be easy to digest for fest audiences.

As Fernando E. Solanas’s “The Dignity of the Nobodies” documents, there are numerous cases in which Argentine workers have managed to keep factories running long after the owners have departed, so the premise here is not 100% fantasy. Returning to his old office in an abandoned wool factory, the loopy Beto Luna (Enrique Liporace) pretends to carry on business as usual, when demoted construction foreman Osvaldo Lazzari (Jorge Paccini) turns up with a wrecking crew to demolish the place. Gentle humor and well-heeled camerawork keep the wheels turning through conventional scripting complications: concerned relatives, greedy developers, cops on the take and a news anchor who invents a hostage story.

Demolition

Argentina

Production

A 3 Mentes production. (International sales: Primer Plano Film Grou, Buenos Aires.) Executive producer, Alberto Trigo. Directed by Marcelo Mangone. Screenplay, Ricardo Cardoso, Mangone.

Crew

Camera (color), Martin Nico; editor, Sergio Zottola; music, Martin Bianchedi; production designer, Mariela Ripodas; sound (Dolby Digital), Vicente D'Elia. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (Latin Horizons), Sept. 22, 2005. (Also in Toronto Film Festival.) Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Enrique Liporace, Jorge Paccini, Gaston Pauls, Roly Serrano, Ernestina Pais, Marcelo Mazzarello, Mimi Ardu, Alejandro Pous, Marcelo Alfaro.
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