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Lazaro’s Girlfriend

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.

With:
With: Claudia Rojas, Roberto Govin, Ramon Merlo, Franciska Rodenas, Azucena de la Fuente, Carmen Merinero, Sandra Prieto, de la Calma. Spanish dialogue.

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.

Lazaro's Girlfriend

Spain

Production: A Vendaval production. (International sales: Aurum Prods., Madrid.) Produced, directed, written by Fernando Merinero.

Crew: Camera (color, Sony sr 9000 DV-to-35mm), Merinero, Mariana Erijimovich; editor, Julia Bonanni; music, Javier Batanero, Tinito de la Calma. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Cinema of Tomorrow: New Trends), Aug. 23, 2002. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: With: Claudia Rojas, Roberto Govin, Ramon Merlo, Franciska Rodenas, Azucena de la Fuente, Carmen Merinero, Sandra Prieto, de la Calma. Spanish dialogue.

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