6 April 2012 | hof-4
The life of the dispossessed
Bernardo Kordon was an Argentine writer whose characters belong to the "lower classes", people at best holding a job (steady or seasonal) enabling them to make ends meet, at worst having no jobs or education and living by their wits (for women this often means prostitution, for men petty crime, for children begging). Kordon's approach was somewhat unusual; for many Argentine writers the lower classes are there to provide house servants and rural peons to the "gente bien" (people of value); for others, the lower classes are not "gente como uno" (people like us) and are sometimes ridiculed and demonized like in the infamous story "The Feast of the Monster" by Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares. Kordon does not romanticize or judge his characters; his approach is low key, realistic, compassionate and often humorous.
The script by director Sergio Renán and Máximo Soto is is based in two of Kordon's short stories, "We went to the city" and "Sunday at the river". The two stories don't mesh smoothly; the second is a comedy that reminds one of Alberto Moravia's Roman Tales, the first is relentlessly dark. Moreover, there are sentimental/melodramatic additions out of character with Kordon's style.
The movie rests squarely on the shoulders of Susú Pecoraro, who had attained international recognition in 1984 with the movie "Camila"; she is in almost every scene. Pecoraro rises to the challenge, supported by an excellent cast. Renan's direction is very good, although at times weighted down by the script. The music is sometimes obtrusive, in particular at the end.
Kordon had better movie luck with "Alias Gardelito" (Alias Big Shot) in 1961; this film, directed by Lautaro Murúa, makes a excellent job of translating his literary style to the screen.