Director: Sebastián Borensztein
Cast: Ricardo Darín (Roberto, the Argentinian), Ignacio Huang (Jun, the Chinese), Muriel Santa Ana (Mari, the woman who falls for Roberto)
Original title: Un cuento chino
Roberto leads a solitary and monotonous life in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He tries to avoid any social interaction that is not strictly necessary, but everyday at his shop he has to deal with people that just make him sick, like annoying costumers and purveyors that take advantage of him. As if it wasn’t enough, one afternoon during his most sacred time of the day, he comes across a Chinese young man who is lost, has no money and doesn’t understand a word of Spanish (Argentina’s language). Roberto doesn’t have a choice, he has to help him, and then get rid of him as soon as possible. But getting rid of him will be harder than what Roberto thought and the two will be together for way too much time for his preference.
To begin with, I have to say that most of the movie’s charm comes from the leading actor Ricardo Darín. For me he’s one of the best Argentinian actors if not the best, and his acting improves with every new performance (for those who are not familiar with him, Darín had the main role in the movie The Secret Of Their Eyes, which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year in 2010). In A Chinese Tale he’s really natural as usual, and God, I love it when he curses. He just does it the right way 😛 Now, I also have to point out Ignacio Huang’s performance, who plays the role of the Chinese man really well, looking totally lost and desperately explaining things in Mandarin though nobody understands him. I liked Muriel Santa Ana as well, who by the way, embodies the woman who falls in love with Roberto. I always thought she was quite a good actress, but I had only seen her in a TV soup opera (Ciega a Citas) that was too pathetic to let her shine.
As most of the Argentinian films I’ve seen, A Chinese Tale is quite slow-paced, but it didn’t bore me at all. It made me laugh and kept me entertained the whole time. The story itself is really sweet, because on the surface you see a very bad-tempered Roberto, who continuosly complains for having to be with this Chinese who appeared from nowhere, but you can also see that deep inside him he’s a good person and keeps helping Jun (the Chinese man) over and over again. I think this is one of the things that the movie tries to illustrate, and also the fact that, although Roberto and Jun come from the opposite sides of the world and have totally different cultures and languages, they do have some very important things in common. And maybe it also talks about those incredible coincidences of life that leave us mouth-open.
The photography of the film is remarkable. It has neat and pale colours which I find very attractive. And something I particularly liked was the lively music that gives the film just the proper atmosphere.
I don’t think this is THE movie, you know, but it is a beautiful one. I really recommend it, especially to those who know about the culture of Buenos Aires (and Argentina in general) because that way you can get some things better. But anyway, the essence of the film is international and you may also appreciate it even if you don’t know where the hell Argentina is. ☻
Watch the trailer ↓
– Written by GuadiRC –