El Clan

On Sunday I went to the Showroom Cinema (always an excellent experience, I don’t go enough), to watch Pablo Trapero’s latest film, El Clan. I’m a big Trapero fan; I’ve seen all his films, and wrote an MA essay on Nacido y Criado (Born and Bred) about heterotopias in the Patagonian environment, so I was looking forward to it, and had deliberately not watched any trailers, so had no real idea what to expect.

It is an excellent film, very stylish, gripping and dramatic. The jumps forward and back in time work well, particularly as for an Argentine audience probably well-aware of the story of the Puccio family and their kidnapping exploits. Despite you knowing what is going to happen to some extent from these flashforwards, the tension still mounts excellently, and there is more at the end of the film to enjoy as you wonder what will happen to the various family members.

The family patriarch is particularly strong – he has a piercing gaze and a real command and control over his children and particularly his middle son Alex. Alex struck me as tragic figure, with the right amount of weakness in his character showing how conflicted and malleable he was. The female figures felt underplayed and underdeveloped, particularly the eldest daughter.

Another slight weakness in the film perhaps is for those not knowing the political situation. It is perhaps difficult to know just why Arquimedes Puccio is engaged in the kidnapping business – his reasons are unclear, are they politically motivated, financial?

All in all, an excellent film, would recommend it, and would get it on DVD.

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