It’s all there in the first, seemingly never-ending shot: the dappled sunlight on the forest floor, the sound of birdsong, the two-person tent, the air of general lethargy, a sudden shift in mood, the first reddening bloom of what will soon be a black eye. Summer is in full swing in the verdant natural surroundings near the Northern Argentinean town of Salsipuedes and Rafa and Carmen’s camping trip is about to be punctuated by a visit from her mother and sister. Yet while her mother is quick to apply her magic cream to cover up Carmen’s swelling eye, there’s no easy way of lifting the pall it has already cast over proceedings. Alternating between tight close-ups of faces and lingering shots of the bucolic setting, Mariano Luque’s auspicious debut conjures up an atmosphere at once suffocating and serene, suffusing the day and night spent in this troubled couple’s company with the constant, yet unrealised threat of violence. And as the final shot returns to precisely the same framing as the first, the wan light of early morning would only seem to confirm the apparent impossibility of escape.
by Mariano Luque
with Mara Santucho, Marcelo Arbach, Mariana Briski