Review: ‘Sighs from the Heart’

"Sighs from the Heart" has helmer Enrique Gabriel returning to the politico-comic terrain of his 1992 debut "Krapatchouk." Well-intentioned, quick-witted pic dexterously juggles its ideas and is always entertaining, but suffers from wild fluctuations in tone, sometimes using a sledgehammer to drive its point home. Fest sidebars beckon.

A willfully offbeat, ultimately nostalgic satire about a young economist who despite himself allows traditional spiritual values, including love, to penetrate his capitalist soul, “Sighs from the Heart” has helmer Enrique Gabriel returning to the politico-comic terrain of his 1992 debut “Krapatchouk.” Well-intentioned, quick-witted pic — scripted by the helmer’s mother — dexterously juggles its ideas and is always entertaining, but suffers from wild fluctuations in tone, sometimes using a sledgehammer to drive its point home. Fest sidebars beckon.

Fernando Balbuena (Roger Coma) finds that a magazine horoscope is predicting his future with uncanny accuracy. Following a financial blow, he heads for Buenos Aires to locate the horoscope writer, and falls in with the wonderfully eccentric crew of old-timers — political idealists all — who produce the mag, called “Sighs From the Heart.” Fraty (Maria Duplaa), with whom romance beckons, is also part of the team. The often witty script unearths hypocrisy no matter the politics, and the slim narrative is more than compensated for by the zesty perfs, though Spaniard Coma, often madly overacting, lacks the charisma to sustain interest. 1960s-sounding soundtrack is sometimes hard to listen to.

Sighs from the Heart

Production

Sighs From The Heart Spain-Argentina An ATPIP (Spain)/Aleph Media (Argentina) production with the participation of TVE. (International sales: El Dorado Intl., Madrid). Produced by Enrique Gabriel, Fernando Sokolowicz. Executive producers, Lina C. Echeverria, Isidro O. Miguel. Directed by Enrique Gabriel. Screenplay, Lucie Lipschutz, Gabriel.

Crew

Camera (color), Raul Perez Ureta; editor, Antonio Gomez-Escalonilla, Alejo Hoijman; music, Osvaldo Montes. Reviewed at Fotofilm screening room, Madrid, Sept. 6, 2006. (In San Sebastian Film Festival -- Horizontes Latinos.) Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Roger Coma, Maria Duplaa, Alejandro Awada, Osvaldo Bonet, Henny Trayles, Gianni Fiori.

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