Film Recommendations based on 8 Finalists of the Copa América

Inspired by my previous post where I recommended 16 films based on the 16 finalists of the UEFA European Championship, I decided to write a similar post but based on Copa América, the South American Football Championship and the oldest still-running international football competition. It started on 11 June and the finale will be held on 10 July 2021. Below I am recommending 8 films based on the 8 South American countries that reached the quarter-finals.

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ARGENTINA: The Secret in their Eyes (2009) (dir. Juan José Campanella)

This Argentinian masterpiece is a must-watch film. In this both clever and emotional story, Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darín), once a criminal investigator, looks back on one puzzling rape-and-murder case in his career, the officially unresolved case of Morales. This case once touched him deeply, especially since he was trying to catch the murderer with his beautiful and intelligent co-worker, Irene Hastings (Soledad Villamil), a woman he has always secretly loved. Now, looking back and piecing together all the evidence, including the one gathered by his imperfect co-worker Pablo Sandoval (Guillermo Francella), Esposito thinks he has finally found the clues he missed twenty-five years ago. Ricardo Darín (Everybody Knows (2018)) is one of the finest Argentinian actors and his film Nine Queens (2000), directed by the late Fabián Bielinsky, is also a tense crime drama to watch, detailing the story of two petty thieves who “try to swindle a stamp collector by selling him a sheet of counterfeit rare stamps (the “nine queens”)”.

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“Everybody Knows” Mini-Review

todos lo saben poster Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben) (2018)   

This mystery-thriller comes from the acclaimed director Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman (2016)), and stars such big-time actors as Penelope Cruz (Volver (2006)), Javier Bardem (Mother! (2017)) and Ricardo Darin (The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)). It seems therefore like this film can do no wrong, but, unfortunately, much does not go well in this latest by Farhadi. In this story, Laura (Cruz) travels from Argentina to Spain with her two children to attend her sister’s wedding. She arrives to a quiet Spanish village of her childhood and is happy to strengthen relationship with her large extended family. However, when Laura’s teenage daughter gets kidnapped, familial secrets come dangerously close to being revealed, and the pool of suspects thins to point to some family members. In Everybody Knows, the lead actors’ performances cannot be faulted, and the film has this one-of-a-kind ambiance of traditional rural Spain. The director also admirably tries to explore some curious familial situations. However, the problem with this film is that it does not become a clever mystery-thriller with tension surrounding the kidnapping and some twists to come. Instead, overlong Everybody Knows is all about tedious melodramatic scenes, with the feeling left that the script could have been considered for some local TV series. Even more unfortunately, what “everybody knows” in the story or the big reveal could easily be guessed in the first half of this well-meaning “mystery” movie.  Continue reading ““Everybody Knows” Mini-Review”

“Everybody Knows” Trailer

Yesterday, the Cannes Film Festival 2018 unveiled its list of films to be presented, and Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows” will be shown at the festival’s opening night. Why it has the the signs to be a great psychological thriller? It comes from the director who crafted Oscar-winners “A Separation” (2011) and “The Salesman” (2016) plus it stars such great actors as Javier Bardem (“Skyfall” (2012), “Mother!” (2017)), Penelope Cruz and Ricardo Darin (“The Secret in Their Eyes” (2009)). The story itself even seems to have something of an Agatha Christie-vibe to it; definitely something to look forward to.

“The Secret in their Eyes” Review

el-secreto-de-sus-ojos-wins-oscar-academy-awards-2010El Secreto de sus Ojos (2009)

       ‘¿Te das cuenta, Benjamín? El tipo puede cambiar de todo: de cara, de casa, de familia, de novia, de religión, de Dios…pero hay una cosa que no puede cambiar, Benjamín… no puede cambiar…de pasión’. (Pablo Sandoval)

Praised by critics and audiences alike across the globe, ‘El Secreto de sus Ojos’ is a gripping mystery crime thriller that won an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Film category in 2010. This Argentina/Spain co-produced film ticks all the boxes when it comes to a great mystery crime thriller, and can even be regarded as coming as close to perfection as any (especially budget) film can get.

Continue reading ““The Secret in their Eyes” Review”