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Looking for Harmony in Life

Looking for Harmony in Life

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On the hottest day of the year, a regular Argentine teenager named Mariano (Rafael Federman, sunken-eyed and deadpan) returns home from a night of dancing, goes for a swim, mows the lawn, finds a gun in the tool shed, and implusively shoots himself twice, once in the head and once in the stomach. Miraculously, he survives, and life goes on and Martín-Rejtman’s latest minimialist, Bressonian comedy shows how the most dramatic of causes can have the least dramatic of effects. The family dog goes missing. While practicing the flute, Mariano discovers that one of the bullets is still lodged inside, giving him a doubled sound, and disturbing the performance of his ancient music flute quartet. His disturbed mother suggests Mariano move in with his brother Ezequiel, who draws closer to Ana, an employee at their favorite a fast-food restaurant. A trip to the beach ends up with another girl, Lucía, returning to Buenos Aires to audition for the quartet. And then, suddenly, the kids are left behind.

A new Martín Rejtman film – three of his works since 1992 have premiered in Locarno – is a rarer occurrence than the World Cup; in between film projects, Rejtman is an acclaimed author, and Dos disparos’ precision and sense of detail is just as much literary as it is cinematic. It is immediately recognizable as a work by its author, who creates an artificial, material world of semi-automaton teenagers, and imbeds objects that create sonic disturbances: cellphone rings and alarm beeps riddle the film’s careful soundtrack. Supremely calculated – you could say it’s his L’Argent – Rejtman presents the summer’s events in a way that illustrate the logic of chance: one encounter begets another, yet the scenes accumulate rather than flow naturally. Everything happens, in an intricate way, yet nothing happens. Life happens.

Mark Peranson
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