Edgardo Cozarinsky, Argentina
2005, Cine Ojo/Les Films d’Ici
81 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles
LATAMROB rating: **
THE TRANSLATED title, Night Watch, may not help when trying to find this film in English-speaking video stores it could easily be mistaken for the visually outstanding vampire fantasy Nightwatch by Timur Bekmambetov or the thriller Nightwatch (with Ewan McGregor) by Danish director Ole Bornedal.
But when they reach home with Ronda nocturna, and Argentine-French joint production, viewers will find that it really is a different kettle of fish. Strangely, however, love and death are also an essential part of this movie.
For the director, Edgardo Cozarinsky, who now lives in Paris, the film may well signify that Buenos Aires is the heart of a country, but a cemetery and a purgatory with faint divisions between the dead and the living.
In this quasi-nostalgic movie, Víctor (Gonzalo Heredia), a rent-boy who has just left behind his teenage years, makes his living chancing it with an ample smile, crossing class frontiers either trading sex for protection, cocaine for money or amusing the bored wives of diplomats.
What could have been just a quick glance at Buenos Aires’ urban gay scene turns out to be a reflection on the bleak future facing the underclass (with a special emphasis on youth), on the destructive energy of passion (the scorned ex-girlfriend who haunts him is merely an archetype), on the difference between love and sex, and on loneliness.
The only character who seems really alive is a taxi driver who exists to mourn the life of his benefactor. – GJ