You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Las acacias

"Las acacias" touchingly unfolds a passing-ships encounter between a truck driver and a mother who hires him to get her from Paraguay to Buenos Aires.

With: German De Silva, Hebe Duarte, Nayra Calle Mamani.

Delicate yet rigorously executed, road movie “Las acacias” touchingly unfolds a passing-ships encounter between a truck driver and a mother who hires him to get her from Paraguay to Buenos Aires. A debut feature for editor and documaker Pablo Giorgelli, pic reps a master class in low-key but wholly effective thesping, as characters played by German De Silva and Hebe Duarte get to know each other via dialogue that would barely cover 20 written pages. Slow-burning pic takes a while to warm up, but once it gets going, it’s a corker that could enchant as an ultra-niche release offshore.

Somewhere in provincial Paraguay, middle-aged trucker Ruben (De Silva) picks up first a load of lumber bound for Buenos Aires way down south, and then countrywoman Jacinta (Duarte), who’s headed for the city in search of employment, with her 5-month-old daughter Anahi (adorable Nayra Calle Mamani) in tow. Although Ruben agreed to give them a lift (his unseen boss also employs Jacinta’s sister), it’s clear from the look on his face that he didn’t expect a baby to be coming, and would gladly off-load them on a bus or even the side of the road if he could.

Via scenes that unfold mostly within the confines of the truck’s cab, Ruben, Jacinta and Anahi slowly get to know one another. Gradually, Ruben takes a shine to Jacinta, with her quiet, uncomplaining dignity and rare but radiant smile, and the unrelentingly cute, mostly very well-behaved Anahi. It turns out Ruben has a son of his own whom he’s barely seen, and a truckload’s worth of regrets for having lived such a solitary existence on the road for years. When strangers mistake the trio for a family traveling together, Ruben is at first annoyed and later somewhat take with the idea. Clearly, Jacinta feels similarly, though she doesn’t have much time for romance.

Perfs from the core cast are pitch-perfect, with experienced character actor De Silva and newcomer Duarte projecting everything auds need to know about their thoughts through exchanged glances, crisp dialogue and body language. Naturalistic but subtle camerawork by Diego Poleri underscores their growing familiarity by shifting by degrees from single-figure shots to two-person setups, literally bringing them together as a couple within the frame. With their matching Roman noses and strong profiles, they even start to resemble one another, as long-standing or well-matched couples often do. Meanwhile, magic-hour timing and the region’s strong light are cannily exploited to give Duarte a backlit halo around her curly hair, enhancing her natural but ordinary beauty.

Use of long takes, slow-tempo editing and lack of non-source music are par for the Latin American arthouse course.

Las acacias


Production: An Airecine, Utopica Cine, Proyecto Experience production in association with Armonika Entertainment, Tarea Fina, Hibou Producciones, Travesia Producciones. (International sales: Urban, Montreuil-sous-Bois, France.) Produced by Veronica Cura, Ariel Rotter, Alex Zito, Pablo Giorgelli, Eduardo Carneros, Javier Ibarrexte, Esteban Ibarrexte. Executive producers, Veronica Cura, Ariel Rotter. Directed by Pablo Giorgelli. Screenplay, Giorgelli, Salvador Roselli.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Diego Poleri; editor, Maria Astrauskas; art director, Yamila Fontan; costume designers, Violetta Gauvray, Laura Donari; sound (Dolby Digital), Martin Litmanovich; assistant director, Mariano Biasin. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Critics' Week), May 13, 2011. Running time: 96 MIN.

With: With: German De Silva, Hebe Duarte, Nayra Calle Mamani.

More Film

  • Netflix HQ LA

    Andy Gruenberg, Veteran Film Executive, Dies at 68

    Veteran film executive Andy Gruenberg, who most recently oversaw theatrical distribution at Netflix, died suddenly on Friday. He was 68. Gruenberg worked on classic films like “Ghostbusters,” “Karate Kid” and “Silverado” while at Columbia Pictures in the 80s and 90s. More Reviews Film Review: ‘Dragon Ball Super: Broly’ Film Review: 'Who Will Write Our History' [...]

  • Fyre Festival Caterer Receives Thousands in

    Unpaid Fyre Festival Caterer Raises Thousands in Donations on GoFundMe

    As two Fyre Festival documentaries hit the airwaves, a couple who say their credit was ruined due to the Fyre Festival’s lack of payment for their services have raised $54,381 at time of publication on GoFundMe. Elvis and Maryann Rolle wrote on their page that they catered “no less than 1000 meals per day” in [...]

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Author Tony Mendez arrives at the

    Tony Mendez, Former CIA Officer Depicted in 'Argo,' Dies at 78

    Tony Mendez, the former CIA technical operations officer who orchestrated the 1980 rescue of six American diplomats from Iran and who was portrayed by Ben Affleck in the Academy Award winning film “Argo,” has died. He was 78. Mendez’s book agent, Christy Fletcher, announced the news on Twitter Saturday morning. More Reviews Film Review: ‘Dragon [...]

  • Glass Movie

    'Glass' to Rank in Top 3 MLK Debuts With $48 Million

    M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is on its way to a solid debut with an estimated $48 million for the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. A sequel to 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2017’s “Split,” the Universal superhero thriller should bring in around $41 million from 3,841 domestic locations over the Friday through Sunday period. The estimates are [...]

  • China's 'Three Adventures of Brooke' to

    China's 'Three Adventures of Brooke' to Hit French Theaters (EXCLUSIVE)

    Midnight Blur Films has signed a deal with French distributor Les Acacias to release Chinese arthouse drama “Three Adventures of Brooke” in France this year, the Chinese production company told Variety on Saturday. A release date has yet to be set for the film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and stars Chinese newcomer Xu Fangyi [...]

  • Noe Debre On His Directorial Debut,

    Top French Screenwriter Noe Debre Makes Directorial Debut, ‘The Seventh Continent’

    This last half-decade, few French screenwriters have run up such an illustrious list of co-write credits as Noé Debré. Thomas Bedigain’s writing partner on Jacques Audiard’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Deephan,” Debra co-penned Bedigain’s own debut, “The Cowboys,” “Racer and the Jailbird,” by Michael Roskam, and “Le Brio,” directed by Yvan Attal. He has now [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content