Odd couple thrown together

ELLY CAVE
Last updated 15:39 19/03/2014

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This week's film, Chinese Takeaway (2011), is a warm and quirky comedy/drama from Argentina.

Ricardo Darin (The Secret in their Eyes and Nueve Reinas) stars as Roberto, a single and lonely war veteran who runs his own hardware shop in Buenos Aires. He is set in his ways and has little to do with anyone in the outside world barring his customers and suppliers.

He is even rather evasive of Mari (Muriel Santa Ana), a one-time lover who freely expresses her love for him.

Screenwriter and director Sebastian Borensztein effectively lays the groundwork for a man who needs to have complete control, is totally adverse to surprises, but who is about to have his whole world turned upside down.

One day, while watching planes landing at the airport, Roberto happens to witness a man thrown from a moving taxi. Rushing to his aid, Roberto discovers that the man's name is Jun (Ignacio Huang) but that he speaks no Spanish, only Chinese.

Jun has an address tattooed on his arm, which Roberto understands is a shop belonging to his uncle. With limited ability to communicate with each other this rather odd couple begins what ends up being a fruitless search for Jun's uncle. Roberto reluctantly ends up taking in Jun as a lodger.

It is not until Roberto comes across a Mandarin speaking delivery boy that he is able to learn Jun's whole dramatic story, and more importantly, is able to come to terms with his own past.

Borensztein is well known in his home country. His father was a legend in comedy, and Sebastian began his career working for his dad. Prior to getting into film Sebastian was writing, directing, and producing TV shows and commercials, for which he has won numerous awards. Chinese Takeaway is his third feature film, and with it he has put together an original script with a nice blend of comedy and drama.

While there are lots of laughs the film has impact as one of life's lessons. One reviewer summed it up by saying that "it is a film about finding ways to communicate and building friendships which will help overcome the hurdles in life."

This film will be followed by the Film Society's AGM.

Chinese Takeaway, directed by Sebastian Borensztein, Argentina, 2011, 93 minutes, English subtitles, Suter Cinema, tomorrow, 6pm. Nelson Film Society, members only. Join at door.

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- Nelson

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