Una Semana Solos Film Review - Official Selection of 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival

“Idle hands are the devil’s playground.”

We all the proverbs which tends to to be particularly accurate when it comes to young people. This is the basic premise and plot of Argentinean director Celina Murga’s feature Una Semana Solos (A Week Alone).

Maria (Magdalena Capobianco) is the teenager under whose charge seven younger siblings and cousins have been left in their gated community homes while their parents are away. With only one other adult/authority figure to answer to, housekeeper Esther (Natalia Gomez Aarcon), the kids pretty much have the run of the gated community which has several homes which are unattended and easy to break into. Maria is nursing a healthy curiosity about boy and has decided to seek answers using her younger cousin, Fernando (Gaston Luparo). The boy, however, does not seem to understand the limits of her intentions and the timid game of cat and mouse persists throughout the film.

Eleonora Capobianco (center) & Magdalena Capobianco (r.) in Una Semana Solos

A source of tension is introduced when Esther’s brother Juan (Ignacio Gimenez) also comes to stay with the kids for a time; a change that does not sit well with Maria’s brother Facundo (Lucas Del Bo). Younger sister Sophia (Eleonora Capobianco) is watchful and an assuming, slowly feeling her way to tweenhood and little Quique (Federico Pena) struggles to keep up with his older siblings while suffering the absence of his mother the most of all the children.

Una Semana Solos (A Week Alone) unfolds very much at the speed of life, making this a tale of adolescent voyeurism. The kids fight over the remote, play video games and cautiously feel out the presence of each new member of the opposite sex that enters their circle. They are bash, steal without thought, if not without malice and reserve a healthy sense of elitism in the way they treat newcomer Juan.

"Una Semana Solos" leaves eight kids to their own devices.

However, no one really wants anything, nothing really happens and no one really learns anything. Nor do the kids face any consequences for their actions, good or bad. Aside from revisiting the universal growing pains of adolescence (and enduring them in a safe, secure, privileged environment) there is not much of a story in this film. While the cinematic language of the film was well executed and chockfull of well thought out production, I was ultimately left unaffected. What is the filmmaker trying to say with this piece? How am I supposed to feel at the end? Unfortunately, in both cases, for me, the question remains unanswered.

Una Semana Solos, presented in Spanish with English subtitles, is part of the International Showcase at the Los Angeles Film Festival happening now all over the Westwood Village through June 28, 2009.


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