×

The Stolen Man

The spirit of early Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer hangs over the curiously weightless "The Stolen Man," a youthful tale of love and literature in which, to pic's detriment, the literature prevails. Though intermittently charming and evocative, wannabe hip item lacks the spontaneity of the French New Wave movies on which it's so obviously modeled, so its gently spoken, bookish protags never quite ignite sympathy.

With:
With: Maria Villar, Romina Paula, Julia Martinez Rubio, Francisco Garcia Faure, Daniel Gilman Calderon.

The spirit of early Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer hangs over the curiously weightless “The Stolen Man,” a youthful tale of love and literature in which, to pic’s detriment, the literature prevails. Though intermittently charming and evocative, wannabe hip item lacks the spontaneity of the French New Wave movies on which it’s so obviously modeled, so its gently spoken, bookish protags never quite ignite sympathy. But there’s enough craft and intelligence here to indicate that first-time helmer Matias Pineiro will blossom when he can unshackle himself from his influences.

Artifacts have been stolen from a Buenos Aires museum, and it quickly becomes clear the thief is Mercedes (Maria Villar). She sells them to antique shops and replaces them with objects stolen from a music museum where her actor b.f., Leandro (Daniel Gilman Calderon), works.

Mercedes’ friend, Leticia (Romina Paula), is engaged to Andres (Francisco Garcia Faure). But one day, Mercedes sees Andres in a park with Clara (Julia Martinez Rubio) and follows them. Rest of pic plays variations on these themes.

Film is heavy with references to works by 19th-century Argentine writer Domingo F. Sarmiento, right down to plot details. Titles of the pic’s many brief chapters are taken from Sarmiento, and the characters, who spend much time holding books, pepper their conversations with quotes (sometimes lengthy) from the writer. This is rarefied art-student fare, its big ideas about civilization and history posing an obstacle to the drama.

Perfs are fine, especially from the trio of women, with the busy, energetic Villar pretty much omnipresent. But the absence of any narrative tension gives thesps too little to work with, and whatever internal strife the characters may be feeling remains locked away behind their cool, literary exteriors.

Crisp black-and-white lensing by Fernando Lockett amounts to an intellectual homage to some of the less well-known locations of Buenos Aires, with its little museums and parks. Editing is sometimes quirky, and progression often too snail-paced for too little dramatic reward.

Popular on Variety

The Stolen Man

Argentina

Production: A Pampero Cine, Universidad del Cine production. (International sales: Pampero, Buenos Aires.) Produced by Pablo Chernov. Directed, written by Matias Pineiro.

Crew: Camera (B&W), Fernando Lockett; editor, Alejo Moguillansky; art director, Marina Califano; sound (Dolby), Hernan Hevia, Daniela Ale. Reviewed at Buenos Aires Film Festival (national competition), April 7, 2007. Running time: 90 MIN.

With: With: Maria Villar, Romina Paula, Julia Martinez Rubio, Francisco Garcia Faure, Daniel Gilman Calderon.

More Film

  • Margot Robbie stars in ONCE UPON

    Box Office: 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Pulls Ahead of 'Hobbs & Shaw' Overseas

    Sony’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” might not have hit No. 1 in North America, but Quentin Tarantino’s latest film is leading the way at the international box office, where it collected $53.7 million from 46 markets. That marks the best foreign opening of Tarantino’s career, coming in ahead of 2012’s “Django Unchained.” “Once [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Leads Crowded Weekend With $21 Million

    The Bean Bag Boys, the self-appointed nickname for the trio of best friends in Universal’s “Good Boys,” are conquering much more than sixth grade. They are also leading the domestic box office, exceeding expectations and collecting $21 million on opening weekend. “Good Boys,” which screened at 3,204 North American theaters, is a much-needed win for [...]

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content