14 May 2014 | gradyharp
Confinement as a means to explore relationships
Writers/directors Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge have captured that sense of parent/child schism that comes form distance following separation. The film from Uruguay is aptly titled TANTA AGUA ('So Much Water') manages to provide that claustrophobic feeling (rain prevents excursions outside a living space in a little vacation that is supposed to allow a renewed coming together between a father and children): it is a cinematic trick that works.
Alberto (Néstor Guzzini) is divorced and arranges to pick up his tow children form their mother to take them on vacation to a thermal resort in Salto. His children are teenager Lucía (Malú Chouza) and 10-year old Federico (Joaquín Castiglioni) who are unsure they wish to spend the time with their estranged father. Constant rain compounds the problem of togetherness, as there is nowhere to go or nothing to do because of the confining rain. No swimming pool, no television – only Alberto who solos his attempt to entertain the two children unsuccessfully. But the proximity examines the schisms that have occurred and the boredom becomes ennui. Lucía is entering adolescence and by nature doubts her father has any clue as to how she perceives the world, especially when Lucía discovers a boy in the resort who stirs her nascent sexuality. The film is a coming of age story for both Lucía and to some less defined extent for Frederico, but in the end the frustration Alberto feels as he attempts to reignite his fatherly role with his children he no longer understands is what make the film worthy.
This is a small film, rich in suggestion, perhaps a bit slow in execution, but well worth examining how South American families deal with dysfunction. Grady Harp May 14