Trenque Lauquen

Trenque Lauquen continues and, in many ways, elaborates on the ascendancy of the Argentine production company El Pampero Cine as one of the greatest forces in cinema today. Directed by Laura Citarella, who produced Mariano Llinás’s modern landmark La flor, it functions as a loose sequel to her 2011 film Ostende, with the principal linkage courtesy of its heroine Laura (Laura Paredes, one of the leads of Llinás’s film, who also co-wrote the screenplay), a botanist who disappears at the beginning of the film, leaving her boyfriend and her coworker to fruitlessly search for her, developing their own uneasy relationship along the way. What ensues is a four-hour, eight-chapter opus that constantly hops between the trio’s perspectives, and in the process serves as almost something of a response film to its spiritual predecessor: while La flor‘s quartet of female leads existed as pure fantasy, icons who came to embody entire axioms of cinema, Trenque Lauquen‘s approach is more grounded, yet in some ways even more elusive. Its shapeshifting journey — spanning epistolary detective-work, eerie quasi-science fiction, landscape observation, and so much more — is far less delineated, and thus the genres become a backdrop to this portrait of a woman and the small city she roams. Patient but always surprising, blending El Pampero Cine’s simple point-and-shoot style with overt cinematic devices (above all voiceover), the ultimate elegance of the film is overwhelming.

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