Sunday, January 3, 2010

Parque Via

This is one of those modest jewels that you can find in cinema. It is a small film with a chilling end, Enrique Rivero's "Parque Via” is a film about a man that has worked for a family for 30 years and has taken care of an empty house for 10 years. A study of self-imposed solitude that's not boring, and an exploration of repressed emotions that's not alienating to the viewer, tale of a longtime caretaker of a vacant house whose self-contained existence is suddenly threatened plays almost like a low-key psychodrama or cerebral thriller. The man lives a lonely, but great life in a fantastic modern house located in Lomas, one of the best neighborhoods in Mexico City.

Beto, the main character, is an aging man that probably came from a rural town.  Apart from the rest of the world by high walls, and settled into a routine, cleaning and watching violent news reports on TV, he seems an island unto himself. A kind of ideal life, he has developed a fear of going to any kind of public place. He will start sweating and having anxiety attacks. 

The house after all those years is finally sold and Beto has no longer any use for the family. He will need to leave his peaceful island. His patrona (boss), La Senora, tries to do her best for Beto, who will soon be homeless and jobless, but events take a sudden, surprising turn. 

Though it's clear from their looks and demeanor, the social divide between the upper-class La Senora and working-class Beto is never put directly into words. He seems happy with the status quo and respectful of his employer, there is a kind of hidden affection, and she, in her own cool way, is attached to her loyal servant. The film’s power comes in the final act, though seemingly out of left field, in retrospect makes sense based on tiny nuances in the performances. Beautifully and masterfully directed, the actors are not professional, it has won some art house film festival like Locarno.

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