Latin American Film: El Agua Del Fin Del Mundo
Directed with an awkward conviction by Paula Siero, this Argentine film played at the Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival. It tells the story of two sisters, Laura and Adriana, who live in urban Argentina. Adriana is terminally ill, though we don’t learn much about her illness other than that it is incurable and she has only months to live. Hoping to have one final adventure before her short life comes to an end, she persuades her sister to take them both on a vacation to Tierra Del Fuego. Most of the film is concerned with the sisters’ attempts to earn money for the trip, assisted and sometimes afflicted by a musician named Martín along the way. In one scene, Martín, who is otherwise portrayed as a sympathetic character, refuses to let go of Laura despite her protestations, ignoring her obvious discomfort. It has incredibly uncomfortable overtones of sexual assault, and undoes much of Martín’s characterization as a helpful outsider. After that scene, he seems more interested in exploiting the situation for his own gain, though he continues to lend his accordion skills to the cause. Shot mainly in handheld closeups and lacking wide establishing shots, the film immerses the viewer in an urban environment while keeping the characters at the centre. While the technique of the film is lacking (and my showing was interrupted several times by shoddy projection) and the pacing sometimes awkward, it still makes for an engaging piece of social realism. By situating the story about the sisters in a wider milieu and making the story about economic struggle, it lends a different nuance to what could otherwise have been a clichéd story.