‘Trenque Lauquen’ Review: Lose Yourself

“Trenque Lauquen,” a stunning multi-part epic by Argentinian director Laura Citarella, begins with a man in search. Laura (Laura Paredes), a visiting botanist conducting her research in Trenque Lauquen, a town southwest of Buenos Aires, has gone missing, leaving only her cryptic notes. get out, get out Laura’s boyfriend, Rafael (Rafael Spregelbad), and her research companion Ezekiel (Ezekiel Pieri) drive through her countryside in search of her trail and nearly become lovers. .

As the film unfolds over 12 chapters (split into two feature-length parts), the man’s pursuit grows like a wild rampant vine. But it’s only in Chapter 7 that someone questions the very premise of Laura’s search, asking Ezekiel, “Why would she want to be found?”

“Trenque Lauquen” is a decidedly masculine impulse, undermining the arrogance of discovery, a narrative principle we often take for granted. Produced by El Pampero Cine, an Argentinian production company known for sprawling Borgesian films like La Flor (2019), which spans more than 13 hours, Citarella’s film is a kind of liberation, a cinematic claims to be a mystery. , can be an end in itself rather than a path to revelation. His first six-chapter part alternates between two timelines and his two quests. It’s a flashback to Raphael and Ezekiel searching for Laura, and Ezekiel and Laura’s attempt to discover the identity of Carmensna (whom Citarella played in the Fantasy Her sequence). A passionate relationship with a local landowner in the 1960s. Laura goes crazy when she finds an erotic love letter hidden inside a book in her library, and her passion soon infects Ezekiel.

Chapter 2 begins to uncover the circumstances behind Laura’s disappearance, only to uncover a whole new puzzle. This time, it’s about her two lesbian lovers who appear to be conducting science experiments in the suburbs, secretly raising mutant creatures. Frankenstein comes to mind here, also as a metaphor for the film’s patchwork structure. The first half is told through letters and notes, and the second half is Laura’s narration. A hint of the novel looks like a herring, but the ultimate effect is a campfire story. To tell — invention of fiction, performance of feeling — not a plot detail. If you wander into the bushes of ‘Trenque Lauquen’, you don’t want to be found.

Trenke Lauken
Unrated. Spanish, with subtitles. Running time: 4 hours 22 minutes. at the theater.

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