'El Perro'


El Perro
Directed by Carlos Sorin
Opens June 9, Cinema Village
Argentine minimalist Carlos Sorin seems to repeat the formula behind his earlier Intimate Stories, also set (in the words of Voice comrade David Ng) in deepest Patagonian bumfuck: an array of melancholy loners, a magical-realist hint of serendipity, and a dog. The latter somehow manages to reverse the misfortunes of his middle-aged rescuer, a gas station attendant laid off after 20 years. That the pet changes the lives of its human castmates should go without saying; the real surprise here is how many heartstrings go untugged. Sorin's spare style belies a rich wisdom, as well as impressive performances from a cast of debuting nonpros. And it's hard to imagine the endless desolate plains of Patagonia ever looking as gorgeous as they do framed in his Zen-garden compositions. But the tale that wags the film is as barren as the landscape. How do you say "shaggy-dog story" in Spanish?

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