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Bolivia

Director: Adrian Caetano

(Argentina| 2001. English subtitles. Black and white. 75 mins.)


Confirming the strength of New Wave Argentine cinema, director Adrian Caetano’s sultry black-and-white gem overcomes the no-budget realities of its production history with a dazzling display of style and verve. The central character, Freddy (Freddie W aldo Flores), is a Bolivian immigrant who works as a cook in a Buenos Aires cafe frequented by the city’s taxi drivers. The archetypal illegal alien, Freddy is underpaid, hassled by the police and resented by local racists. This scenario could have made for a heartrending social tragedy, but Caetano opts for a more interesting approach by mounting a nervy drama filled with tense close-ups and foreboding camera angles that signal the eventual onslaught of violence. At times reminiscent of early Scorsese and Jarmusch, Bolivia’s portrait of a foreigner adrift in a corrupt and corrupting city sees its central protagonist’s fate as symptomatic of a grimly global state of being. This is Caetano’s second feature, and he’s definitely a name to watch.

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