Bombon El Perro is the second film from Argentinean director Carlos Sorin and is a simple yet humorous movie to come out of the economic collapse of the region. It tells a charming tale that revolves around poverty but is not at all heavy handed in approaching the issue of the hardships Argentinean’s are now facing.The middle age Juan (Juan Villegas) is struggling to make ends meet after he has lost his job of twenty years as a service station attendant. He spends his days trying to earn enough to survive by selling knives that he hand carves himself. He also lives in his daughter’s apartment who sees him as a burden as she tries to raise a baby during hard times with a presumably unemployed partner. Desperate to find work Juan visits an employment agency but the outlook remains bleak.
Juan is a very kind-hearted man and is prepared to make sacrifices in order to help others, no matter how much it inconveniences him. He meets a young woman stranded in the vast plains of Patagonia after her car breaks down. Unable to fix the vehicle without adequate tools, Juan offers to tow her over 100kms which she accepts. When they arrive, instead of a cash reward for his troubles, the young lady’s mother offers him a huge dog by the name of Bombon, who is of the breed Dogo Argentino (a breed banned here in Australia). Bombon is from a prize-winning bloodline and comes with papers so Juan reluctantly accepts the offer with the prospect in the back of his mind that there may be money to be made from this beast. Not long after inheriting Bombon, Juan is introduced to a boisterous dog trainer named Walter who is readies both hound and owner for the dog show circuit. They also plan to make some money on the side by promoting Bombon’s bloodline and hiring him as a stud and this odd couple, or trio if you include Bombon, set out on an adventure.
Sorin directs a calm and heart-warming film despite the harsh economic times his country is going through. Sure, poverty is the source for Juan’s adventures, but Sorin concentrates on how his characters overcome it rather than dwelling on the depressing side of hardship. His use of mostly non-actors adds an element of realism to the film and the cinematography by Hugo Colace showing the harsh yet beautiful landscape of the area is stunning.It may be a little slow paced for some and the comedy might be considered to be too slight. But there are rewards for those who watch this film with an open mind and some patience. It’s one of those movies that won’t have you rolling in the aisles but leaves you with a constant smirk throughout.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2005 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sydney Film Festival For more in the 2005 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.