Wednesday, 29 February 2012

GFF 2012: Chinese Take-Away

This will probably be the last of my Glasgow Film Festival film reviews - i saw and wrote about a bunch more stuff, but those reviews will most likely be banked for future cinema/dvd release dates. Twas an awesome festival all in all - Kid with a Bike, This Is Not a Film and Sleeping Sickness were the clear highlights in my eyes, but there were plenty more modest successes amongst the programme as well, including this:

Chinese Take-Away might well boast the oddest opening of the festival: on a serenely beautiful lake, an attempted proposal is interrupted by a cow falling from the sky and landing on the would-be finance. It’s one of several scenes of bizarre death peppered throughout the film, as curmudgeonly shopkeeper Roberto pores over newspaper cuttings for examples of life’s capriciousness. His surly demeanour distances those around him, but he soon experiences chance’s vagaries first-hand with the arrival of non-Spanish-speaking Jun, searching for his family in an unwelcoming Buenos Aires.

Chinese Take-Away’s bottom-line homilies – seize the day! Don’t judge a book by its cover! etc. - may be fortune cookie-deep, but, under cover of quirk, writer/director Sebastiรกn Borensztein smuggles in a profundity as unexpected as it is rewarding. Jun regrettably remains a cypher, but this helps concentrate empathy on Roberto (played with pitch-perfect cantankerousness by Ricardo Darin), whose layers gradually unfurl as this handsomely-shot film edges towards its classy conclusion.

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