Lewes Film Club - Lost Embrace
Lost Embrace won the Grand Jury (second) Prize in the 2006 Berlin Festival, which is apt enough for a film which never aspires to greatness but makes its mark in a downbeat, slightly bittersweet sort of way. It is set in a shopping mall in Buenos Aires and reflects the dissolution of society in present-day Argentina, a multicultural country that has seemingly lost its way in the world.
The film was co-written and directed by Daniel Burman, who produced The Motorcycle Diaries, and is carried by its protagonist Ariel, played by Daniel Hendler, the only character who is at all fleshed out. Hendler plays a 30-something college drop-out who works in a struggling lingerie shop started up by his father, who left the country to fight in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and never came back home. His mother, who still gets money and phone calls from her estranged husband, now runs the shop, which gives Ariel a slim financial lifeline. His life is centred round the mall: he dreams of getting out by wangling himself a Polish passport, but lacks the drive to push things through, instead keeping himself occupied with a love-affair with an older woman who runs the local internet café. Ariel may be a loser, but crucially he is a funny loser, his personal saving grace and that of a film which doesn’t offer any solutions to his problems, but has a great time pointing them out. It’s all hand-held cameras and charming vignettes. Not a must-see, but one you might regret missing.