A fearlessly visceral perf by Claudia Rojas as a newly-transplanted Cuban in Madrid can’t save exhaustingly frenetic character study “Lazaro’s Girlfriend,” which plays from soup to nuts like a Dogme project gone amuck. Pic opens in Spain in late August, but won’t find many theatrical suitors elsewhere; fests with interest in DV projects will come courting, and some vigorous sex (including a minute or so of explicit fellatio in the last reel) can’t hurt ancillary appeal.
A hyperactive, street-smart hustler given to massive mood swings, Lazaro (Roberto Govin) finally snaps while working a construction job and is subsequently thrown in jail. Meanwhile, his wide-eyed squeeze Dolores (Rojas, from “Life Is to Whistle”), after figuring out b.f. won’t be meeting her at the airport, begins a grueling odyssey of adjustment that includes conjugal visits and drug smuggling for Lazaro, strained but sincere relationships with a handful of locals, and finding a calmer love with the big-hearted Paco (Ramon Merlo). In a breathless, fragmented narrative, Rojas’ passionate resilience is the one constant. Tech credits are DV-raw to the core; Merinero and editor Julia Bonanni never met a jump-cut they didn’t like.