A Farewell to Arms

The director and the protagonist present the film, running in the Argentine Competition. 
 
 
Manuel Abramovich closely analyses the idle time in the life of recruit of the Argentine Army. In formal dialogue with his previous work, the director takes a singular case to deal with the general panorama of the military institution and its role in the midst of the 21st century.
 
 
Every first image should be the seed of what is coming, the film's soul. Not only because it should establish the general tone of the film -ideally-, but also because it should state the topic and the director's vision about the matter. Soldado, Manuel Abramovich's documentary, starts with the general frame of an outdoors patio, where composing elements precisely related to each other show a group of characters performing their daily tasks. It is a regiment; there are soldiers and their superiors. We see a routine, a gray patio and indistinguishable voices. The patio resembles the recreation courtyard of a children's school but it is a training facility. The characters look like toy soldiers but they are part of the Argentine Army.
 
That's how their idle time is, our country's peacetime. Abramovich lucidity advances and expresses, surreptitiously, a key question: What does it mean, being a soldier nowadays? What role does the Argentine Army play these years, after the military dictatorship, after the Malvinas Islands War?

 
 

Soldado
is a film that dialogues with the filmmaker's previous work -specially with the short film The Queen- not only in the meticulous look towards a character in a universe he is unaffiliated to, but also in the vast range of technical resources it deploys about the topic. Asphyxiating extreme close-ups, focuses, extremely precise frames and off-camera shooting where what is not seen tells more than what is happening in front of the lens -and, from time to time, completely resignifies it-.
 
Abramovich's visual sharpness -in addition to directing and writing the script, he was in charge of the photography- seems that of “a fly on the wall” -as the direct cinema defined certain documentarists, who have the ability of remaining unnoticed. The shooting team's invisibility is the result of a comprehensive investigation, an extensive fieldwork and a deep level of intimacy with the protagonist -Conscript Juan José González- that allow all the magical situations in the story to happen.
 
The daily life in an affected, diminished institution, full of unimaginable routines -from the incessant rehearsal of the hit on the drum to the examples of how the bed should be made- clashes with the true reasons behind González’ enlisting. Family, pride, recognition and, above all that, the socioeconomic reality of a country. “Do you like what you're doing?”, his mother asks. The answer to that question, as every other element handled by Abramovich, holds the very central topic of the story.
 
 
Ezequiel Vega
 
Screenings
Today, jue 23, 1.10 pm, ALD 4
Today, jue 23, 9.10 pm, ALD 4
Fri 24, 6.30 pm, ALD 4

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